Pastor Ivan Jones, who has worked in Lavender Hill for years, continues to be a beacon of hope and a helping hand in the area.Jones lives in Strandfontein and runs several projects in Lavender Hill. Since schools opened, he has been doing a hardcover book drive to help needy learners in Lavender Hill. Through the initiative Jones collects A4 hardcover books and distribute them to deserving learners at Lavender High School. Since he started, he says there has been an overwhelming need for the books in the community. He hopes to take the drive to other areas in future. Jones says it all started when he saw a learner without a school bag. “I talked to the learner and I discovered he didn’t even have books. He was writing on pieces of paper – loose papers that can get lost anytime and that touched me. As I spoke to more learners and teachers, I learnt that most learners didn’t have books. Those that were lucky to have books had one hardcover book for [all their] subjects. They do about seven subjects and to have one book was just not working. That was not right, so I decided to help the learners with books,’’ he says.So far, he has collected and distributed over 450 books. “The need is too big. If we can help with the books, we will boost the learners’ confidence. They will enjoy being at school and we will not see so many dropouts. When learners don’t have books they feel discouraged, but if we can all get involved and help we can change our communities,” says Jones.He says, he has become the go-to person. “If teachers have learners without books they are now sending them to me. I really want to help but the need is so big. I’m calling on other people, businesses to come forward and help so that we can help our children. Some of the problems that we are sitting with in our communities can be solved just by helping our learners and keeping them at school,” he says.Over the years he started a garden and aftercare programme. He also helped with illegal dumping, among other things. “My aim is to help others and if we can all join hands we can do so much more. I want our children to be safe, hence all these programmes that I run in the community,’’ says Jones. V To help Ivan Jones with his book drive, or his other projects call him on 076 194 3301.