The Story behind the Dignity Bags and Hampers for the homeless.
Around 2 years ago, while I was driving along and came to a traffic light there was a woman standing there asking for something. As you know, It is not unusual in South Africa (and especially not in my neighborhood) for homeless people, substance addicts or vulnerable people to find themselves begging on street corners. You could meet a great many people in one day who need assistance. The need is great, even overwhelming. The state has many projects to assist, but we know that it has been unable to assist everyone for various reasons from the sheer volume to corruption. As she stood there asking, one word came to mind: “Dignity”. I found myself unable to forget her or what had started in my heart. That day my thoughts flooded and landed on a concept: “dignity bags”. I can’t imagine that these dear women can ever afford simple toiletries. If the choice is between food and toiletries, the latter will hardly ever be a purchase they make in the daily struggle to survive life on the streets. And so we started looking into canvas bags as they are re-usable, can be used as a handbag if they look good, and also can support a small business in the process. I know that dignity is more than a bag of essential toiletries, but can you imagine not being able to have such items for years and having to face life, especially as a woman, without it? So this bag of essentials is a start. It is a message of love. It is the spoil of a Papa who sees. It is a helping hand for secret struggles that these women have no capacity to voice. Every woman deserves the preservation of dignity on a sanitary level.
DIGNITY as a constitutionally enshrined right is very important to me and I look forward to engaging that in the legal sphere in the years to come. But I also believe that while we give our lives to equipping the saints to extend the Kingdom, changing the world and changing laws and policy, we cannot neglect the immediate needs that we see or the commands of God to aid the poor. We must find ways to engage both and make a difference as we go.
Fast forward the story to 2020. Covid-19 hits and many of the homeless people in Cape Town are shuttled to the infamous Strandfontein camp. When the camp closed, the homeless were back on the street. This coincided with the onset of Winter. You don’t have to drive more than 5 minutes to see large numbers of homeless people and the crude cardboard beds many of them sleep on. A few are lucky enough to have a small tent (albeit a flimsy one), but most have nothing more than cardboard and other items gathered on garbage days. So last month I decided with the money left over from your donations, after buying vouchers for some families in need, to buy several blankets and make sandwiches and take it to a group. When we did, we realised just how great the need is and that we can’t afford to stop! So we started an ongoing mercy mission. Let’s get as many blanket and food hampers to as many homeless people as we can.
(* Please note that the items in the blanket hampers may change according to needs: eg. to include jerseys or raincoats, etc)
At the same time the dignity bags idea awoke again. We have an entrepreneur on-board who will be making the bags, scarves and 3-layered cloth face masks from her home, so your gift not only helps out the person who receives a bag but supports small business too. I love entrepreneurship! Besides those essentials, the bag will also include various toiletries such as 2 x sanitary towel packs, a small towel, soap, toothpaste and brush, a mirror, a tub of moisturiser, deodorant and other essentials. And there will be Bibles included/offered as well.
It is nothing extraordinary to give to the needy and yet we know that the Levite and the priest did not stop to help the wounded man but the Samaritan did. I don’t want to be so busy with religious or “important” work that we cannot help at least some of the needy people right in front of us now.
Please will you join me in receiving this mandate and embrace it as you have thus far embraced the equipping of the saints, the missions and all the other Kingdom work that we have done.
On-going mercy missions:
We aim to make delivery of Dignity Bags every month, and of Blanket Hampers from May-August of each year, but each delivery depends entirely on how much sponsorship we receive in that months to purchase the goods.
We are partnering with U-turn to supply Dignity Bags as often as possible for the homeless ladies and men in Phase 1 of rehabilitation. We also partner with a childrens’ home in Athlone where we have thus far delivered 60 blankets and 60 age and gender appropriate Dignity Bags. Join us to continue to link hands with U-Turn and Leliebloem and to continue to deliver essentials to those on the streets.
How can you partner with us?
You can make Mercy donations via an EFT or for international or credit card payments via PayPal or PayFast, secure online payment provider.
EFT payments to: Wells Training and Missions NPC, Standard Bank, Acc No: 071447024. Br Code:051001.
Please use an appropriate reference: such as your Name and “Dignity Bags” or “blankets”. 100% of what you give goes to these gifts of love for those in need!
Click here to give via PayPal: paypal.me/DenisePadayachee
Click here to make a payment via Payfast.