Xtreme Community Projects organises a 'shop' for PE's homeless

MAY 4, 2015

Xtreme Community Projects, a division of 24-Hour Emergency Spill Response Company, Xtreme Projects, which is based in Nelson Mandela Bay, on Friday brought cheers and smiles to those living on Port Elizabeth’s streets through a massive clothing handover along Park Drive, St Georges Park.

Set up as a pavement pop-up shop, the event was organised in a way to get the homeless to ‘shop’ for the clothing items – the only difference with a real shop being that they would not pay anything.

“As employees at Xtreme Projects, we have all been given opportunities to grow. A lot of us come from backgrounds where we had nothing – and Kevin (the owner of Xtreme Projects) gave us jobs, including me his sister.

“He even sent me to study - and from working in the kitchen for very little money, I am now an educated person. So, we decided to give back to the community hence we used Workers Day to give to those among us who do not have jobs,” said Megan Kelly, who organised the charity with colleague, Charmaine Le Roux.

Charmaine said they were inspired to also give to the community after coming across a post on Facebook.

“Instead of doing what everyone else is doing, we decided to do our thing. It was fairly easy to get people involved but the logistics of was a bit tough as it is our first ever community project. Still, we learnt a lot things that we are going to use in our next projects –because our next one are going to be bigger,” she described.

The campaign, which stated two months ago, was launched on Facebook as an appeal to local residents to donate their old clothes while Xtreme Projects employees also cleared out their closets. The result was a huge amount of clothing, shoes and bags for both the young and grown-ups.

After collections, the clothes still had to be sorted, washed and ironed.

Megan said the event was not going to be a once-off as every three to six months, they were hoping to host an event aimed at giving back to the community.

“On the 15th of August, we are doing a charity on the International Homeless Animals Day. Instead of buying a ticket, community members will bring in tinned pet food to enjoy the entertainment, which includes kids rides. We will donate the food to local animal organisations.

“We also have a lot of homes for aged in our city that are struggling and we are aiming to organise another charity drive so that we can be able to help those homes this year.”

Charmaine said giving to others is a noble thing for anyone to do.

“Ask yourself what if you did not have the things you have in your life today – would you not have wanted someone to help you. If you do have, you can give away,” she said.

If you want to donate items and clothing or to find out more, contact Megan Kelly on [email protected] or visit their Facebook page – Xtreme Community Projects.

“All clothes that we fail to give away are also going to be used at our boot sales, so we are going to still need donations. We will auction the more grandeur things and donate all the proceeds to charity,” Charmaine appealed.  

Daniel Kondo (56), who has been living on the PE streets said life for homeless people is always a struggle.

“With these clothes, shoes, jacket and socks, I am hoping that I can be able to survive the winter and the cold nights,” he said.

Andile Swartbooi (32) said he was grateful for what Xtreme Community Projects had done as he could now be able to change his clothing and enjoy a sort of dignified life.

These sentiments were shared by several other homeless people who benefited from the pop-up shop.