The Night Shelter in Somerset celebrates it's 25th Birthday

The Somerset West Shelter is celebrating 25 years of operation during 2013.  We will be having 4 key fundraisers during the year, which are SW Mall Charity Book Fair, Gala evening at the Play House, Golf Day and an Art & Wine Auction.  We are hoping to raise R45 000 for replacing the mattresses.  We accommodate 54 men & women on average every night.  With a successful turn over of 20 new clients off the street and 20 being helped to the next step out of the shelter every month.  During a year we offer over 850 nights to the Homeless in the Helderberg.  The mattresses are well worn and in desperate need of replacement.  Each mattress will cost R800. 

The Shelter is being run by a team of 7 staff and 7 core board members.  The chairperson for the past 2 years is Mrs Jo Swart, who has voluntarily been serving at the shelter many years. The hard work and dedication of the staff and board has ensured the continuation of services extended to the homeless in the Helderberg.  The shelter is dependant on the generosity of local business and the community.  During this year we want to express more than ever before our gratitude to all those who have supported, given and helped.  The shelter has a long history, which started with a small group of concerned individuals.  There is always concern for the homeless and the growing need is more evident than before.  We have plans to extend and duplicate what we are doing in Strand, Gordon's Bay and Macassar.  Our team have hands on experience and are specifically trained to provide an excellent service to the homeless.  We are constantly looking for wisdom and partner with like organisation in order to create as much momentum as possible.  We understand that we have a crises on our hands and before we know it winter will be here.  The Helderberg has deaths in doorways every year and in general the homeless numbers are growing. This is sad and unfortunate, but we know we have the power within a thriving community like ours to bring about change and to make a difference, one life at time.  Our shelter remains full, however we have launched the VOUCHER system, where by we offer help to those we cannot accommodate.  We offer a warm plate of food, a shower, clothes, a waterproof sleeping bag, bottle of water and a food pack.  People are enjoying this concept and have taken it on board.  Vouchers are available via Helderberg Crime Watch office at the Mall, through the Helderberg Neighborhood Watch network, Helderberg Cares and at the shelter and at Life Church.  The vouchers are only R10 and this is a RESPONSIBLE way to give to the homeless.  It is vital that the community support and get involved with the Shelter as we have the knowledge and are in touch with the needs.  A lot of wisdom is key to making a difference, our hearts can be broken when our generosity is exploited.  Lets work together to make sure that we have a WINTER without HOMELESS people on the streets.

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