With the cold winter months approaching, local organisations, businesses, churches and media outlets stepped up to do something practical to help vulnerable people in the Paarl valley.

Through the Love My Valley movement of kindness, an initiative of Valcare, a total of 1643 blankets were collected during May 2021.

The blankets were donated by the public, in partnership with more than 20 entities, and delivered at ten different drop-off points across Paarl.

“We are thankful to everyone who showed kindness by donating blankets – whether it was one or 100. All the blankets are now being distributed via registered nonprofit organisations who are members of Valcare, to ensure that the donations are allocated responsibly,” says Ivan Swartz, CEO of Valcare.

Sabrina Matthee donated a bag full of blankets at the Vuka Co-Working Space in Paarl.

Val de Vie Estate residents and the Val de Vie Foundation collectively donated more than 1000 blankets, of which most will go towards the community of Brickfields, distributed by ACVV Paarl.

The outreach, in collaboration with so many different partners underline our organisation’s ethos to ‘be at service to the community, together.’ We are thankful for the donations, especially considering that the coldest months are still ahead,” says Agnetha Goetham, Auxiliary Social Worker at ACVV Paarl.

To start the distribution process, a few of the blankets were handed out to Brickfields community members on Friday 5 June 2021. Representatives from Valcare, Val de Vie Foundation, Helplift, Paarl Post and Radio KC attended the occasion and engaged with the community.

Iza Slabbert from the Val de Vie Estate Marketing team, helped to hand out blankets to children along with ACVV Paarl in Brickfields. Photo: Liezl Davids, Paarl Post.

“We hope that this gesture will not only provide warmth, but reinsure the community that there are people who care. Our residents opened their hearts to Brickfields, and by exceeding our goal of donating more than 1000 blankets, showed that the Paarl-Franschhoek Valley is life-giving to all”, says Martin Venter, Val de Vie Estate Founder and CEO.

Along with Paarl Post, Radio KC was a media partner of the campaign, challenging their listeners and presenters to donate hundreds of blankets.

The Radio KC breakfast team and Valcare’s Elsa Fourie, posing with the blankets that they donated. Photo: Radio KC.

KC 107.7 was really proud to be part of the Love My Valley Blanket Drive and totally overwhelmed with how our listeners reacted by literally ‘blanketing’ our foyer,” says Gavin Meiring, General Manager of Radio KC.

Aside from ACVV Paarl, the rest of the blankets will be distributed through Inceba Trust to Early Childhood Development centres and through Helplift to community members. A number of blankets will also be kept in storage to use in the case of disasters by Answering the Call, a local disaster response collaboration.

“It’s so wonderful to see the happy faces and to hear the hopeful stories from the people who receive their blankets. We are thankful to be part of the Love My Valley movement, and to help more people together,” confirms Jacques Heyns, Helplift Coordinator.

The blanket drive was the second project in the new Love My Valley movement, with the first project handing out coffee, juice and cookies to 650 health care workers.

“We know that these Love My Valley projects won’t solve all the social development challenges in the Cape Winelands, but it provides a practical and easy way for anyone to make a difference. Hopefully it will create a lifestyle of kindness in the valley. We look forward to seeing how the community responds to future Love my Valley campaigns,” concludes Ivan.

For more information and to get involved, visit www.valcare.org.za/lovemyvalley.