Thankfully, the ubiquitous second term public holidays mostly fell on other weekdays and allowed us to trade three times in April. A few close calls with the weather followed, but we were not deterred and neither were the kids.
When we are going to be closed on any given Monday, and try to accommodate as many kids as possible on the adjacent trading days. When rain was threatening (ok, so it was drizzling quite heavily) at lunchtime on Monday the 15th, we went ahead with setup. Word spread quite quickly and the weather cleared slightly, giving us a full afternoon with 114 kids participating – not bad, considering it looked like we’d be rained out.
Our first fundraiser of the year – an adult clothing and household item sale – was held on April 3rd. As always, our darling Bernie worked like a Trojan to collect, organize and advertise this popular event. Everything is sold at R10 an item, offering great bargains to the community. We always give our “landladies”, the Sunshine Group, a chance to pre-select items for a short while as many of them are quite frail and the younger shoppers can be quite assertive. Over R4,55.00 was raised, to be used towards clothing for the children and wool for Winter wear.
Loretha and Marie have been planning the next annual our art auction since the morning after the last event. This year’s theme will be the intrigueing “Ebb & Flow”and the event date will be 30.08.2019. Why not start working on your piece right away?
Realizing that Winter is around the corner, creative and dedicated well-wishers have been knitting and crocheting up a storm and we have received loads of beautiful woollen items: breathtaking blankets, funky gloves and the cutest teddies imaginable. The weather is getting cooler and the kids are always over the moon when they walk out with that unique and special beanie or pair of gloves.
A few parents have asked for “all weather” jackets, or anoraks, to be available in the swop shop, so when ordering bulk school clothing, we included those and already 32 have been sold.
Once again, the four local restaurants who lovingly provide a nutritious meal to all the kids on trading days have recommitted their support, and committee member Libby has managed to inspire one new donor – in this economy! The restaurants are: Driftwood, Infood, Nina’s and Ocean Basket. The owner of a The Petite Sunbird bakery is still donating delicious cake on the last day of each term. Food Lover’s Market have also pledged their continued support and the children will still receive fruit with each visit.
It’s a fun challenge choosing which of our lovely photo’s to post on Instagram. Please go ahead and follow us! Most photo’s are taken by Charmaine, one of our most dedicated volunteers. She is a gifted photographer who gets a pose and a smile from the kids and volunteers every time.
May was all about celebrations, with Worker’s Day, voting day, Mother’s Day and no less than 4 of our 6 committee members’ birthdays.
Our local YWAM centre has been our main source of extra volunteers and they have really been a godsend.
Although our regulars are very reliable, being a volunteer-run organization can be quite tricky sometimes, like on Monday 13th May when 6 regular volunteers were all unable to help out for various reasons. Messages are sent out, but we occasionally start off the afternoon with only one or two people in the shop, quickly forming a queue of 15 or 20 kids at the swop shop door. Every single time, help arrives out of the blue – like a Swiss family of four on that day. The dad had visited us in 2018 and wanted to bring his family to experience what he so enjoyed. New additions to our regular team have been Kim and Matt, who are really delightful people. Matt is trained in first aid and has set up a station where the scratches, splinters, etc. can be treated.
Bernie has been ordered by her physiotherapist to avoid the physical motion of hanging clothing items on rails, due to recurring shoulder trouble. Happily Jeanette, with Victoria’s energetic assistance, has stepped up and embraced her new job as boutique manager.
Ghosha joined our team in 2018 and sadly had to return home to the USA recently. Being around her no-frills, no-nonsense attitude, her activism with a sense of humour, and her huge heart have made us all better people.
In order of value, our expenses so far in 2019 have been:
Clothing, with the majority being spent on school uniforms and school shoes. Anoraks, especially, have been a great hit. We are also buying lots of onesies again. The kids adore them, and they double as PJ’s and tracksuits! A fellow NPO in town, Masikhathalelaneni NPC, is very involved when the inevitable Winter shack fires occur, and we have assisted them twice by providing school uniforms to the learners in the fire-affected families. They provide a list of exact needs, and the kids are asked to visit our site, ensuring correct sizes are provided and eliminating any “chancers” trying to take advantage. Their newsletter is attached.
Stationery – as we try to buy most of the year’s requirement of pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, sharpeners, etc. in bulk for best prices, we only need to supplement a few stationery items, like calculators.
Toys, books, etc. We always have various balls available, from tennis to rugby and soccer. The soft rubber rainbow-coloured balls are an absolute favourite with the kids and are perfect for developing their motor skills. Spinning tops are the all the rage at the moment and the kids have such skills!
Our trusty scale, kindly donated by the Rotarian Club, finally gave up the ghost after many years of service. We tried a used scale, but quickly realized that such an integral part of the project has to be completely reliable. A new platform scale was ordered from our supplier in PE and started working on Monday 8th April. It has already weighed over 10 tonnes of material. Whilst speaking to the sales person, we discovered that she is very involved with a swop shop which started just outside PE after they visited us! Check out Harvest Swop Shop https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cnEQrApQwI
Toiletries – a new item we are promoting is washable fabric sanitary pads, made in SA by Palesa Pads. These are each traded for the same number of points as the “disposable” packs.
Wages – 7-8 community members assist us with weighing and sorting the materials every Monday and each receive an afternoon’s wages.
Security – we pre-paid for the alarm and armed response for the year, which meant one month free. This is part of our contribution
Bicycles – we only had to buy 2 new bikes, as our extra storage space allowed us to stock up last year.
Cleaning materials/ shoe polish
Repairs and maintenance – this includes a repair to our gazebo.
Wool – we try to provide wool to the elderly knitters who can’t afford to buy, but still love to make beautiful teddies, blankets and beanies for the children.
Web page renewal
Sundries, such as a spare key for the centre.Printing and stationery – this was mostly to advertise the clothing sale fundraisers.