A charitable Christmas: It’s Our Turn


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Roast turkey, roast potatoes, steamed veg & gravy

A few weeks ago my mum called and told me the bad news – we weren’t going to be able to be together for Christmas this year.  I was disappointed to say the least.  I found myself wondering what Christmas 2011 would be like without my parents around to spoil and adventure with.  A charitable idea had been brewing for a while, and since I was on leave this allowed me the time to tie down a definite plan.  I got in touch with Ryan Scott from It’s Your Turn and we began to strategize.

Ryan is a Capetonian with a huge heart.  He makes himself available to collect surplus food and redistributes it to needy individuals in and around Cape Town.  It’s Your Turn also collect used dance dresses, which are in turn sold cheaply to girls in townships for their Matric dances.  With the money raised, Ryan then buys school shoes & uniforms for his beneficiaries.

Some of the beneficiaries of It’s Your Turn include St Anne’s home for disadvantaged women & their children and The Homestead, havens for boys off the street.  Ryan identified these NGO’s as recipients for my contribution, which was to prepare, package and deliver a delicious festive meal and dessert to 65 women, kids and staff members.

St Anne’s is a 107 year old organization that shelters destitute, abused and disadvantaged mothers and their children.  The home is located in large house in Woodstock and accommodates 25 women.  St Anne’s run a skills training center which empowers each woman with skills in areas such as beading and jewellery making, sewing, arts and crafts, computer literacy and business skills.  St Annes also provide second stage housing which accommodates employed women from their other women’s shelters that need a continued supportive environment.

The Homestead is a group of homes put in place to help keep kids off the streets.  We delivered to Yizani, which is a drop-in haven which means that street kids are welcomed in and accommodated immediately.  Yizani keeps the kids busy with educational, recreational and sporting activities.  Children may remain at Yizani for a number of months before they agree to join the program and will then get moved to more formal accommodations within the Homestead group around Cape Town.

The menu included roast turkey, roast potatoes, steamed broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and traditional gravy and for dessert, Christmas cake with vanilla custard.

 Once I had decided to go ahead with this project, I put the word out on Twitter and Facebook to see if I could rally up some funding and assistance.  I was blessed to receive support from four individuals, and it is for these selfless people that I write this post:

Morné Botha, your financial contribution and your assistance on Christmas day delivering these meals was tremendously generous and I am so grateful to have met you in such a wonderful way.  Thank you, thank you.

To Julia Wilde and Tammy Benjamin, thank you so much for so graciously donating money towards this project – I know that you both wanted to get more involved, but you have so much on your plates what with babies to take care of and businesses to run.  Please know that your contributions were more than sufficient and helped us feed not just one home of happy faces, but two and then some.  God bless you.

To my sister, Angie van Zyl, you are such a treasure.  Thank you for all your help shopping, cooking, packing and delivering.  I couldn’t have done this without you.  It was wonderful having you involved, and I hope that this is just the beginning of our charitable endeavours together.

And finally to you, Ryan.  Thank you for making yourself available on Christmas morning to deliver these meals with us.  It was a great pleasure to be involved with It’s Your Turn and I hope that this is the first of many valuable collaborations together.

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