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CCID urges: show you care this winter

CCID urges: show you care this winter

Baby, it’s cold outside, it’s a hard knock life and everybody hurts. As it rolls out its annual Winter Drive, the Cape Town Central City Improvement District (CCID) is calling on citizens to think about how these well-known song lyrics apply to the homeless in Cape Town’s cold, wet winters, and to show they care by giving responsibly and treating all people like, well, people.

According to Pat Eddy, Social Development Manager of the CCID, the most important thing the public can do as winter hits the Cape is to: “Show you care. This is the cornerstone of everything our fieldworkers do to assist street people, because there are so many things that can make a difference to someone’s life.”

This is also what drives the GIVE RESPONSIBLY call to action developed by the CCID in 2008 to encourage those who wanted to make a difference to the lives of street people to support the NGOs in and around the Cape Town CBD.

Part of this call to action each year is the CCID’s Winter Drive campaign, this year catching public attention through a poster campaign playing on well-known song titles to bring home the message that life on the streets is tough – but that members of the public can help by using a simple phone app to donate whatever they can afford to the NGO partners with whom the CCID works closest.

These NGOs are ones that assist adults living on the streets with shelter (when it is available), as well as food and other social services, and ensure that children are afforded the necessary care and protection and rehabilitation programmes. They include The Carpenter’s Shop, The Haven, The Homestead, Ons Plek, Salesian Institute Youth Projects and Straatwerk.

The CCID’s Winter Drive Campaign has enabled the organisation over the years to collect and redistribute hundreds of thousands of rands of public donations, including monetary contributions as well as clothing, food, toiletries and other essentials.

“The public want to assist, but often they just don’t know how. Each year, as we roll out the campaign, we look for ways to make it as easy as possible for people to show they care,” explains Eddy, “Since 2012, we’ve driven monetary donations via an SMS* number and this option is still available to people who want to donate in this manner. But last year we introduced a SnapScan option to GIVE RESPONSIBLY, which now also appears on our poster campaign. Within hours of the posters going up this week, we’ve already seen a remarkable update in donations being made.”

This is enabled via a giant QR code that allows a member of the public to “snap” and donate the amount of their choice using a smartphone. Every cent, bar a transaction fee of 3c for each rand, will go directly to the CCID’s partner NGOs on this project. The app, available for iOS, Android and Blackberry, can be downloaded at www.snapscan.co.za.

Getting back to the catchy phrases on the posters, Eddy notes: “We went for ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’, ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’ and ‘Everybody Hurts’ because they convey the idea that these are tough economic times, we’re all in this together – so why not help someone less fortunate, particularly as winter sets in?”

Along with a call for monetary donations, the CCID will once again be rolling out donation bins to its corporate and retail partners in the CBD, allowing staff and clients to donate essential items. It has also once again packaged a special supplement, titled the Tough Times, with its quarterly community newspaper, City Views. This pull-out-and-keep mini newspaper sheds light on the work of the CCID’s six NGO partners and provides information on how to contact them directly.

It also reveals the good work of other concerned citizens in the CBD, such as the Ladles of Love project started by Danny Diliberto (of Doppio Zero at Mandela Rhodes Place), and the CCID’s own efforts to create a caring environment – including its support for the Service Dining Rooms and Khulisa Streetscapes project, it’s extension of the Youth Solutions Africa shelter and its contribution to the upgrade of The Carpenter’s Shop’s ablution facilities. You can find City Views and the Tough Times at over 200 retailers in the CBD or online at www.capetownccid.org/about-ccid/publications/City-Views/60.

“Even if you do something like shopping for your vegetables on a Saturday morning at the Khulisa Streetscapes project next to Fruit & Veg City off Roeland Street,” says Eddy: “You are doing something of immense value in supporting a wonderful project that provides street people with opportunities.”

In a Tough Times editorial penned by Eddy, the CCID acknowledges that no one will ever be able to stop anyone from giving directly to a person on the street, particularly as the city moves deeper into a wet and cold Cape Town winter.

Quoting Greg Andrews, the Service Dining Rooms’ operations manager and convenor of the Street People’s Forum, Eddy notes: “The real question is how you give. Whether you give or not, both actions can be dehumanising. The ‘how’ matters most because interactions accumulate and either reinforce alienation or begin to address it in a way that NGOs and statutory bodies can’t.”

Eddy concludes: “Everyday acts of kindness can add up to increased social cohesion. But if you feel hopeless and don’t know what to do to help street people beyond interacting with them, that’s okay. In the City Views supplement, we give you a few ideas to think about. Whether or not you give to anyone less fortunate than you are, the big difference you can make will, as Greg says, be in how you treat your fellow human on the street and elsewhere.”

*SMS “Give” to 38088 to donate R10. An average of R8 goes to the NGOs, depending on your service provider. Visit www.giveresponsibly.co.za for EFT banking details and more info on the call to action.