01 June 2021

Winter is by far the hardest season for a large portion of the South African population who are living outside the formal housing sector. Though one might not have the means to help in a dramatic way, there are still many small ways to help those in need this Winter.

According to the 2016 Community Survey by StatsSA, 2,193,968 South Africans live in informal dwellings (defined as a dwelling or shack in a backyard or squatter settlement), and 142,270 falls under the “Other dwelling” category (defined as caravan, tent, and other dwellings in informal locations). This means that roughly 14% of the population is living outside of the formal housing sector. This statistic becomes all the more alarming during the rainy season, where many will need to face the cold without the necessary food, shelter, or warmth.   

To assist those who are struggling over this time, RE/MAX runs an annual Coats & Cans drive where their network and members of the community are encouraged to drop off warm clothing and non-perishable food items as well as pet blankets and pet food at RE/MAX offices across the country. At the end of Winter, the collections will be dropped off at various NPOs, shelters and animal welfare organisations across the country.

For those without a participating RE/MAX office nearby, RE/MAX of Southern Africa suggest a few alternative solutions for giving back over this Winter season:

Buy Shelter Tickets
To help ensure that everyone has a warm place to sleep at night, locate your nearest shelter and see how you can help support them. Most shelters charge a nominal fee to those who use their services. Your donations can help subsidize this fee. Alternatively, the shelters might be in need of some extra volunteers or might be looking for physical donations of food, clothing, or bedding.     

Pack out & donate to charity shops
We all have items that we no longer want or need. Take a moment this Winter to unpack your cupboards so that you can donate these unwanted items to local charity stores or an NPO that makes these items available to those who desperately need the help. To find your nearest charity shop, you can visit the CharitySA website at www.charitysa.co.za/charity-shops.

Find a feeding scheme to support
There are a whole host of local feeding schemes around the country. Take a moment to find one nearest to you and ask how you might be able to help. Some feeding schemes make it as simple as making a few extra sandwiches a week or donating a pocket of potatoes. Depending on the organisation, there will either be a local drop-off point or somebody from the organisation will come to collect your donations. To find a feeding scheme you can support, search through local social media pages and groups, search online, or speak to somebody who knows your suburb well, like a real estate expert or a local community group leader.

“Though the problem of homelessness and hunger may seem overwhelming, the misconception is that we have no power to improve the situation. The truth is that if we all contribute in whatever ways we can, we will soon start making a noticeable difference,” concludes Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.Top of Form

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