Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa

by Missionvale Care Centre
Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa
Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa
Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa
Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa
Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa
Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa
Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa
Provide nutrition for 500 families in South Africa
You are remembered in thanksgiving every day
You are remembered in thanksgiving every day

Dear, dear friends

We have some exciting news to share with you! From now on, your kind contributions to this project will have double the impact on young people!

You will know from our previous messages that we sometimes have up to 1000 people coming through our gate, collecting a half loaf of bread and some soup powder.

The vast majority are elderly and frail, but sadly hunger is a reality for many youngsters too. Although we recognize this, we are focused on helping them help themselves.  For this reason we have added support groups.  In these safe spaces, people can share coping strategies relevant to their situations.

Support groups include (but are not limited to) substance abuse, parenting, gender based violence as well as empowerment groups for young men and women. Being sympathetic to another's experience and relating to their feelings can be powerful tools to empower and uplift one another.

Starting in August, individuals under the age of 35 are required to attend weekly support group sessions in order to receive bread and soup.

The groups are facilitated by staff who have volunteered to assist in addition to their normal duties.  It is inspiring to see their dedication and passion!

We are so grateful to you for your contributions to this project, and we hope it will bring you great joy to know that your support provides not only physical nutrition, but soup for the soul as well!

With love and appreciation from all of us in Missionvale

Our staff planning the support groups
Our staff planning the support groups

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Dear, dear friends

Many of you reading this are probably seeing signs of Spring around you, while we are heading for our colder months.  This may reach you as you wake up, while we will be ending the working day.  It is always amazing to think of you so many miles away, yet making an impact right here!  It is incredible to think of how this platform allows this special connection to be made between us.  

It is a connection we are deeply thankful for, particularly now.  Our teachers report that many children have been asking for second portions of food lately, as the situation at home has become so dire. Many of their parents have lost employment during the pandemic, and two students lost their fathers due to Covid. When the main breadwinner passes away, or loses that income, it leaves the family in a very desperate situation. Your incredible faithful donations have ensured that despite this, these children have not gone hungry.

Interestingly, just this morning we were doing short interviews with some of our learners, asking what they liked best about our school. A large number spoke about the food they receive, and the gratitude with which they spoke was both beautiful and tragic.  What child should ever have to worry about where their next meal is coming from? 

It has left me thinking about how grateful we are to YOU, for taking that big worry away from them. It also brings great relief to the parents, knowing that there is a safe place where their children are able to maximise their education as they are not learning on an empty stomach.

WE CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH!

We appreciate every single one of you so, so much.

Kids having fun after lunch!
Kids having fun after lunch!

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Christmas Distributions
Christmas Distributions

We don't have words to describe this year. It flew by, and yet so many changes happened in the same time.

It is with mixed feelings that we reflect on the months gone by and we’d like to take this opportunity to share some of the events with you:

What a joy to be able to reopen the school in January after all the upheaval with Covid! Every year we ask the little ones in school what they want to become when they grow up. We've already received sad answers like "first in the bread and soup line". Many want to become social workers or policemen. One girl once said she wanted to work on the tills at a local grocery store so she could buy her mother a bed. Our principal has started to hold a Career Day annually so that the children can be exposed to other options. This year, a few mentioned that they want to become doctors, teachers, even engineers! It's wonderful to see how their horizons are widening.

Something we've been dreaming about for a long time is getting the environment around us a little cleaner. We conducted a trial in January with our staff to collect and sort items so we can begin a larger recycling program. By February we had a good system in place and we were able to officially open our "swop shop". People bring plastic, cardboard, cans and glass items into giant large bags (which we incidentally made ourselves in the sewing unit). The items are then weighed, and points per kilogram are allocated. These points can then be swapped for clothes, stationery and groceries. The community's reaction was incredible. We even have one woman who has a soup kitchen in a nearby township who uses her points to get ingredients for her project!

In March, we received a large donation of vegetable seeds. Usually we plant seedlings rather than seeds because the successes are so much greater. But our team in the gardens decided they were going to try to germinate the seeds themselves and they got it right! We hope to build a proper seedling nursery next year. It was amazing to see the plants flourish, eventually becoming delicious fresh spinach, carrots, onions and beans!

From January to April, the youth team had the opportunity to attend an exciting art and drama course in Makanda (formerly Grahamstown). This gave them a good foundation for offering arts activities for those attending our after-school program. We also work well with the local art museum, which also offers workshops for the children. There's a lot of talent here!

The school's playground has over 200 enthusiastic little feet playing and kicking ball, so the grass always struggles a bit! Some time ago we received a donation of second-hand "Astroturf", all the way from Ireland. The idea was that a group would come to us to put it down, but unfortunately this was not possible due to the pandemic. Instead they graciously covered costs for a local company to put it in, and wow, the place was totally converted!   The kids are thoroughly enjoying their new playground!

One of the biggest projects, and certainly one of the most enjoyable to work on, was the huge water reservoir we completed in May. I can't tell you how severe the drought is here. The problems with our electricity are also no secret, but one can still manage with lamps and candles for light and gas or fire to boil with, but water! Without water, nothing can live. Now that we’re able to harvest every single drop of rainwater, we have sufficient supply to plant vegetables all through the year!

In June, great tragedy struck when our beloved founder, Sr Ethel, was diagnosed with cancer. We would never have suspected it, she had almost no symptoms, and was still so energetic and passionate. By the time they made her diagnosis, it had already spread very far. She had a very short time to make very big decisions, and asked to return to her family in Ireland. It was incredibly difficult for her to leave after more than 3 decades in Missionvale. She was deeply saddened to go away from all the people she loved so much, and the Care Centre that she had devoted her life to.

A week after her birthday in August, she lost the battle and went to rest peacefully in her sleep. It was indescribably sad and everyone was in deep, deep shock. To this day, it feels so unreal that it really happened...

During this extremely difficult time, the staff at the centre were absolutely amazing. The services to the community didn't come to a standstill for a moment, and that's how Sr Ethel would have wanted it.

In September, two members of the order of the Little Company of Mary visited us (the same Congregation Sr Ethel belonged to), and we are so happy that one of their Sisters will soon be joining our Board of Trustees. We are truly blessed with an active and committed group of people who ensure that the Care Centre continues Sr Ethel legacy of compassionate care.

In October, there was great excitement when a television team from a program called "Dankie Lottoland" was with us, along with "Early-B" — a local rapper who is making a big name for himself. The episode has aired recently and we hope that it will help with awareness of our work.

Every year in November we hold a special thanksgiving service. During this event, we remember every person who walked with us in the year. We are so grateful to every one of you for your life giving contributions via GlobalGiving. Our appreciation of you grows deeper each year.

Unfortunately, we had a very sad break-in in December where 3 young men broke into the school, and not only stole, but also damaged things. However, thanks to the community’s quick action, one man was apprehended. We felt discouraged incident, but the community really came to stand together, some even stood guard at night to ensure this doesn’t happen again.

On a much happier note, we were able to give nearly 5000 children a present and some sweets for Christmas, and we were also able to distribute over 3000 food parcels to families so everyone could have a meal around this special time of year.

It is YOU, our faithful friends, who make all this possible for the people of Missionvale. On their behalf, and from all of us at the Care Centre, we extend our heartfelt, and eternal gratitude to you. We wish you all of the very best for 2022 and pray that your goodness to us be returned to you tenfold!

 

 

 

 

 

 

All the parcels you make possible!
All the parcels you make possible!

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The plaque in our memory garden dedicated to Sr E.
The plaque in our memory garden dedicated to Sr E.

Dear, dear friends

It has been a surreal time since our last interaction.  The sudden loss of our precious Sr Ethel came as a huge shock.  Some days we still can't believe that it is true...

As the founder of the Centre and a true visionary, she knew that this day would inevitably come.  She eqquipped us for it very well, but the absence of her gentle physical presence is sorely felt by us all.  She was one of a kind, a small but formidable heroin.  

Each one of us will miss her in our own way, but this week the heartbreaking reality of it in Missionvale hit home.  A man came asking to see her.  He was very excited to tell us that he just finished a course that would equip him to become a security guard.  Sr Ethel had arranged a private sponsorship for him to do it.  He wanted to tell her he had completed it and to ask if she had something for him to eat.  I was stunned to find that he had not heard of her passing.  When I told him, he first looked at me in complete disbelief, and then utter despair.  He was so completely grief stricken, it shattered my heart.  He stood there with his frumpled red cap in his hand, a sight of intense sorrow coupled with great anxiety.  He asked the questions we all have in our heart, but don’t know the answers to.  “Why her when she has done so much good?”  It was so terribly sad.  He has been looking for work, taking CV’s to security companies but he has not been successful yet.  He has to survive until that day comes!  

I wanted to share this with you because it is YOU that enable us to reach out to him until he is able to provide for himself.  It is your kindness and generosity that make it possible for us to honour Sr Ethel's remarkable legacy.  We promise to continue serving the people with the same love and compassion she was so known for. 

Some years ago she wrote this prayer, and we will use it to help guide us on the way:

We pray that we, the friends of Missionvale, 

may enter into the lives of the poor in their

pain, loneliness and despair.

 

To recognize that we have done nothing to

deserve our prosperity, as they have done

nothing to deserve their deprivation.

 

To reach out a hand of solidarity, compassion

and love, filled not with empty platitudes, but

with food, medicine, learning and hope.

 

To learn from the sick and the vulnerable, the

great lessons of humility and simplicity.

 

To learn from ourselves, the limits of our love

and the boundaries of our selflessness.

 

To know and believe that a Care Centre, within

our city and within our hearts, is only the beginning,

but a beginning where anything is possible.

 

With love and heartfelt gratitude from all of us in Missionvale.

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Some of the food items available in the SwopShop
Some of the food items available in the SwopShop

Dear, dear friends

We continue to be amazed and inspired by your fantastic support.  Where would we be without it?

You make so much possible here.  Every donation you have given has done so much more than just buy food.  It has renewed hope, it has given energy, it has SAVED LIVES.

We are excited to tell you that we have expanded on our recycling program with the introduction of a "Swop Shop".  People are encouraged to bring recycling to the Centre (sorted into cardboard, tin, glass or plastic items).  It is weighed on arrival and for each kilogram points are allocated and written on a slip of paper.  With this paper, they can then go to the SwopShop and exchange their points for a variety of items - toiletries, food items, stationery, clothing etc.  

This ensures that people get exactly what they need the most, and has also helped to clean up the area!  

It has even gone beyond that!  A local woman running a soup kitchen in an area not too far from Missionvale, has begun asking the children there to bring plastic PET bottles to her.  These she brings to us and exchanges it for food items that she uses in her soup kitchen!  Isn't it just incredible?

It is only because of people like you that we are able to build on the services we have, and that we are able to reach more people.  Thank you again and again for entrusting us with your kindness and generosity.  We are forever grateful.

A whole lot of rubbish can do a whole lot of good!
A whole lot of rubbish can do a whole lot of good!

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Organization Information

Missionvale Care Centre

Location: Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape - South Africa
Website:
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Project Leader:
Linda van Oudheusden
Port Elizabeth, South Africa
$60,060 raised of $90,000 goal
 
1,432 donations
$29,940 to go
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