Helper humbled by the homeless

Sergeant Jacob Mashile, head of Edenvale SAPS Social Crime Prevention Unit with some of the donations.

In order to lend a helping hand and to help those in need, the Homeless Winter Donation Drive 2017 was held in Edenvale on June 9.

The evening saw community members, the Edenvale SAPS and Savika K9 unit and Savika armed response officers hand out items to the less fortunate.

Elize Filotto, Vanessa Besurab and Natasha Kriel sitting on the steps of the Edenvale Post Office. Vanessa received donations during the donation drive.

Elize Filotto from Help the Homeless East Rand, and one of the organisers, said the drive was a joint initiative between the community and the Edenvale SAPS Social Crime Prevention Unit.

She said donations were made by private individuals, Savika and Pick n Pay Terrace Road.

The donation drive took the community to various locations in Edenvale where the homeless are known to stay.

“We found a lady at the Edenvale Post Office who had her goods stolen just a few days ago. She is also clinically blind and desperately in need of glasses. Engaging with our homeless community is in many ways a very humbling experience,” said Filotto.

She said most of the people who received assistance, despite their circumstances, still put on a smile and have a positive attitude.

Elize told the NEWS she hopes people will stop believing the stereotypical view that all homeless people are either criminals or too lazy to work

“When you go out there and actually take time to listen to their story, you realise they are good-hearted people who have just been dealt a lousy hand,” said Filotto.

“Although I have taken a lot of flak for initiating this project, I hope to carry on doing so until we can find a way to either re-unite these individuals with family members or assist them to find employment and get back on their feet,” said Filotto.

A homeless man receiving donations from Hein Bruyns on June 9.

Sergeant Jacob Mashile, head of the Edenvale SAPS Social Crime Prevention Unit, said homeless people are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing.

He said during the drive the group spoke to the homeless about relocating to their families.

“One of the homeless men known to the Edenvale community by the name of Sekgobela said he hopes to be reunited with his family in the Moletjie Village in Limpopo,” said Mashile.

The group also advised the homeless to work together with the police to fight crime and to report any criminal activity around Edenvale.

Mashile and Filotto thanked all who were involved in this drive.

Sergeant Jacob Mashile, head of Edenvale SAPS Social Crime Prevention Unit with some of the donations.

Elize Filotto speaking to some of the homeless men at the Edenvale Skate Park.

Enock Gininda showing the NEWS his beanies and gloves which he received on June 9.

Helping the homeless and creating a better community

Stephan Lehman

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