“The impact that you make every day creates a beautiful world. You enhance the beauty and inherent dignity in people’s lives. With your compassion, you turn suffering into healing, hopelessness into opportunity, loss into success. Without a doubt, you improve the quality of life in your community. All these things create a beautiful world…Thank you for making the world less scary, less lonely and more hopeful for so many people.” John Haydon
Our most overwhelming experience in this past month has been the EXTRAORDINARY care and support that Kids Haven has received from our friends and donors. Your sense of support is tangible and has allowed Kids Haven to become the extension of your concern for vulnerable children, youth and families.
Kids Haven faced #Lockdown and the #Covid-19 crisis with much anxiety. How would we keep the children safe? How could we keep our Staff safe? Should we roll down the shutters and focus on the children right here under our noses? Or could we maintain our mission which is to protect and care for vulnerable children – wherever they may be? Our responsibility to protect and care for our children in the Centre and our staff was an easy one to implement. We stayed in, closed the doors, appreciated the staff who moved in with the children and everyone instantly obeyed the rules of lockdown.
The more difficult task would be to care and protect the children of our preschool and our families and youth in our precare and aftercare community-focused programmes. None of these community-focused programs are specifically or fully funded by any donor or receive Government support. But we believed that we could make a difference if we just started – some help is better than none.
Ahead of the start of #Lockdown level five, way back on 27 March 2020, the community team led by Sam Mokgopha, rushed to deliver Checkers gift cards that Kids Haven quickly bought using individual donor income that we had received in the first few months of the year. We spent R 30 000 to buy 120 x R250 gift cards and began passing them to the families and youth on our database.
As soon as the #Lockdown officially started, Kids Haven applied for and received immediate support from the Momentum Metropolitan Foundation, the DG Murray Trust, the RED Foundation and Fortress REIT Limited to support Kids Haven to manage the impact of Covid-19 on the children living here and the beneficiaries in the community. This was soon followed by emergency funding from Kinderfonds Mamas in Holland, the Dad’s Charity and CoronaCare in South Africa. The HCI Foundation with eMedia in association with the Lunchbox Fund and the IDC provided food parcels while individual donors responded generously to the WE COOK vegetable + maize meal combo which we could also distribute.
Suddenly it seemed that our uphill task to meet the needs of families and children could be done. Your support has made it possible.
The Community Team has worked every day, including weekends and public holidays, to go from house to house to visit the children, youth and families and hand over the food parcels or vouchers. Sam Mokgopha has also received virtual vouchers that he has easily been able to forward to youth and families who could more easily get into town to use the vouchers. Ordinary men and women have sent us money and food deliveries – many anonymously, which has been distributed and banked so that we can provide for the immediate needs and the needs to come during Lockdown level four and into the unknown future. #NoKidsGoesHungry is a reality.
The Community Team has provided immediate relief to families through distributing 290 food parcels to date along with 155 food vouchers – a total of 445 families have been helped in 35 days. The team has handed out the food support family-by-family, visiting and checking on the wellbeing of the children in the home, and the adults. It has not been a quick process but has allowed the team to fulfill their mandate of protection AND care.
The work is not over. Food parcels from the IDC will be delivered next week to another 130 families and the team continues to use the donations to buy more vouchers and food items to share to beneficiaries and small community based Organizations who we know well. We will start distributing lovingly created Activity Boxes from Dani and Noa to our preschool children who won’t be starting back at school until July. We are also receiving masks, handmade and others, to ensure that our 153 children will each have two masks to return to school, with a few spare for the masks that go astray! The Staff also need masks and we are sending masks into the community.
Based on the discussions that we have had with parents and youth, we believe that unemployment and lack of opportunity will continue to impact on the food security of families for many months to come. The winter cold is only going to make life harder.
Our children have received beautiful homemade and personally decorated birthday cakes to enjoy at their #Lockdown birthdays. The Centre has received donations of food and treats like rusks for the children. We enjoyed an EASTER with the traditional Easter-Egg hunt in our garden to find bunnies and eggs enough for everyone. Even our bigger boys received an Easter egg. Donors have made sure that they arranged online deliveries or sent us money to be able to make these #Lockdown days as wonderful as ever. Thank you for seeing these needs of our children and meeting them.
One child shared “No home visits, school or hugs. But thank you Kids Haven for protecting us from the virus.”
Can you keep helping?
The Kids Haven Donation Centre (011 706 7959) re-opens on Monday, 4 May. We are able to receive dropped off donations at our office at 300 Main Road, Bryanston, and will move goods across to Benoni as quickly as we can. We are also able to collect any second hand items or food donations from your home. Please call us or email firstname.lastname@example.org . Our priority needs are second hand clothing, shoes, toys, blankets and food. We will sort the goods, keeping what we need for the children, providing as much as we can to community and having some items to sell in the charity shop that re-opens on the 6th May.
We also desperately need more MASKS to share with community members to comply with the President’s rule that everyone has to wear a mask to go out. Children returning to school will all need masks.
Children may begin earning community hours again through donating any of the items to be found on our website under https://in-contact.co.za/redirect.php?site=21&email=65&contact=2793&title=https%3A%2F%2Fkidshaven.co.za%2Fcommunity-hours%2F&url=gohttps%3A%2F%2Fkidshaven.co.za%2Fcommunity-hours%2F We are not able to offer face-to-face volunteering but there are many things to do that can make a BIG difference.
The Kids Haven Charity Shop at 32 Cranbourne Avenue, Benoni will open with strict covid-19 protocols in place. Under the Level Four lockdown rules, the shop will sell winter clothing or children’s clothing (mostly for small children). The charity shop is an important income generator for Kids Haven and has been closed for 5 weeks. It is also a vital link for community members, all women, who buy-to-sell items in their community to earn a living. The Charity Shop at Tait House in Woburn Avenue will sell second hand children’s books as educational resources.
The Dad’s Charity is also running their VIRTUAL cycle tour to replace the physical tour which is their main fundraising activity to support Kids Haven along with four other Organizations. Keen cyclists please join in – you have the first two weeks of May to ride 680 virtual kms from Joburg to Durban for a donation of R250. To enter the 680km Virtual Ride to Durban, click here:
“Thank you to every person who is enabling Kids Haven to protect and care for vulnerable children. These are unknown times, but we are immensely grateful that you KNOW us and have allowed us to bring relief to those in need – already and into the future.” Sam Mokgopha Kids Haven Head: Community
“Kids Haven has taught me that I can be whoever I want to be and that it’s not so much what you have in your life but who.”
Past Child R
You can get involved by volunteering, donating money or second hand goods.
If you think your company could help make a difference please contact us.