Thanks to the generosity of residents, a clothing bank based at Lentegeur Hospital will be able to clothe thousands of patients this year.
Mitchell’s Plain residents donated hundreds of clothing items over the past month.
A previous People’s Post article had called on residents to come forward to help the clothing bank (“Hospital heals, clothes patients”, 10 November 2015).
Acting social work manager Cheryl Blankenberg says donations handed in vary on a monthly basis, but she agrees the number of donations increased over the festive season. “In many instances people donate out of the goodness of their heart; they donate because they understand the need for clothing; they donate because it is a gesture of goodwill; they donate because they know that their donations are appreciated; they donate because there is value in giving to other people who appreciate the clothing,” says Blankenberg.
Since its inception the clothing bank has received much support from surrounding communities. Babalwa Koliti, a fourth-year Social Work student at the University of the Western Cape, was instrumental in the opening of the clothing bank to coincide with Mental Well-being Month.
Under the supervision of Andre Weavers, a social worker at Lentegeur Hospital and Koliti’s student supervisor, the project has grown for the past three years after Koliti noticed the need for basic clothing items among various patients, especially when they came close to their discharge dates.
“The purpose of the Lentegeur Hospital clothing bank is to help our patients who are approaching discharge with basic clothing items to facilitate their reintegration back into society,” she said earlier.
The project is supported by donations from staff members, family and friends of patients, community organisations and religious associations.
One such donor is Joseph Lee of Somerset West. After reading the People’s Post article online, Lee and his family donated five bags of clothing.
“We want to restore the dignity to those patients who somtimes have nothing when they return to the community. It is a worthy project and I would like to thank the organisers for their foresight. Restoring dignity is the ultimate act of kindness,” says Lee.
Blankenberg says the hospital is very appreciative. “Caring for people is by far one of the most humane attributes one can have as a human being. The establishment of the clothing bank has demonstrated that people care and want to assist those in need. The staff at Lentegeur would like to extend much gratitude to all, both individuals and communities, who took of their time to care through contributing to our clothing bank,” she says.
“We would like to urge communities to continue donating to our hospital where patients who really need clothing value the clothing and take pride in the way they look. We know that our communities and individuals care enough to contribute towards patient recovery on whatever level recovery is at. The donations we have received is also a very strong indicator of how community involvement supports and upholds the importance of human rights; we would like to encourage communities to continue this goodwill.”
The clothing bank accepts clothing for all ages and genders in a variety of sizes. The sizes most in demand include teenagers and adults – medium, large and extra-large T-shirts, men’s pants in sizes 30 to 38, women’s pants in sizes 30 to 40 and dresses in sizes 30 to 40.
“Through the generosity of individuals and communities, we are able to clothe thousands – 3000 estimated – of mental healthcare patients over a period of one year,” says Blankenberg.