Makeover time for children’s home

2018-07-24 06:00
Woolworths employees pose for a picture after a day of hard work at St Francis Children’s Home in Athlone.

Woolworths employees pose for a picture after a day of hard work at St Francis Children’s Home in Athlone.

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St Francis Children’s Home in Thornton Road, is currently undergoing major renovations to its premises, after benefiting from a project worth R100 000.

Officials from the Woolworths head office in Cape Town and their store employees from across the region, who raised the amount, visited the home last Friday for a handover ceremony.

“This is the first time that two of our employee involvement programmes have chosen the same beneficiary, resulting in the opportunity to make an even bigger difference to the beneficiary,” explains Dianne Peterson, Woolworths sustainability communications consultant.

The initiative forms part of “Mandela 100”and “Just Cause” – Woolworths employee community involvement programmes that encourage clusters of their employees to identify and propose a community cause that they will support through fundraising.

“Over the last month, employees at Woolworths head office were encouraged to donate money, time or products like the pyjamas and so forth.

“The store’s staff in the region also had a number of events over the last few months to raise the money through beauty pageants, sports days, movie days, as well as raffles and a mini soccer tournament­.”

The money allocated to the shelter is set to cover several upgrades, including the revamping of the kitchen, replacing all the windows on the premises and giving all the children warm pyjamas and casual outfits.

St Francis is currently home to 46 boys ranging between the ages of two and 17 and is in dire need of repairs to make living conditions better and safer for the children.

But it was Milton Fredericks, Woolworths administrator, who had grown up in the area and nominated the children’s home as one of the Woolworths employee Mandela Day projects.

“From a personal experience, I understand the challenges that these boys are facing and saw an opportunity to give them hope and put a smile on their faces.

“I was delighted to hear that my store colleagues had also proposed St Francis Children’s Home as the beneficiary for their Just Cause initiative.

“Their support gave us the opportunity to make an even greater difference here,” explains Fredericks.

About 42 volunteers were also allocated to the children’s home, to assist local group New Kidz with the revamping of four kitchens and a computer room, as well as assisting Iziko Museum officials with tree planting activities on the premises.

These activities also formed part of Woolworths’s ongoing Mandela Day celebrations.

A thankful Fatima Levy from St Francis Children’s Home said: “Woolworths has indeed made a major difference to us with this generous donation to give us a safer and warmer winter,”

“We truly felt their care as they have been hands-on and listened to our needs. They have also opened their doors for us to collect surplus food from their Kromboom and Palmyra stores.”

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