Ricochet News

Bay teen uses her gap year to collect over 3 000 clothes for the homeless

By Jesica Slabbert - Jun 7, 2017
Bay teen uses her gap year to collect over 3 000 clothes for the homeless

Moved by the plight of destitute and homeless people on Port Elizabeth’s streets as the winter season arrived, a Port Elizabeth teenager, Amy Erasmus, decided to use her gap year to help them and started a project called ‘Keep Caring’.

The idea came to her by chance while she was driving home one evening and seeing the homeless begging at Port Elizabeth’s intersections.

“If you had asked me a year ago where I would be today, I would probably said something about preparing for a crazy swim or just working. But this year has turned into something I never would have seen myself doing,” said Amy.

She drew up a clothing collection plan.

“It was March then, all those 'end of summer' sales started happening while they unpacked the winter stock. It was clear that I needed to do a clothing drive and that there was no better time for clothing drive,” described Amy.

But before she could put anything into action Amy first needed to acquire drop-off points for people to donate the clothing. This is where Jamie Brits, from Houdini, stepped in and made all the Houdini’s in PE designated drop-off points for the campaign, along with a poster for the cause.

After the launch, there were private companies which contacted Amy to help collect clothing donations, namely the Lush Beauty Salon and Pawparazzi.

“I knew that I wanted everybody to be able to help, even those that may not have clothes to donate which is why I put together food and bedding parcels. This also gave companies an opportunity to donate to those in need,” she explained.

Since then, Amy has been able to help charities such as Lovestory and Hannah’s arms.

“Visiting these two organizations and hearing the stories behind the people were two truly humbling experiences. I’ve collected 2630 articles of clothing, four boxes of shoes, 256Kg of food and over 30 blankets. There is still one official day left of the drive and I have three more collections to do.”

While she planned for the campaign to be a once off event, she says donations have continued to come in.

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