Kouga Express

Children surprised with real-life Santa

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Father Christmas drove into the venue on a motorcycle.
Father Christmas drove into the venue on a motorcycle.
Photo: Supplied

When Hendrik de Goede and his wife, Wilma, from Pretoria, travelled to Kareedouw in April last year – as they do at least once a year to enjoy a holiday, they were astonished to learn that underprivileged children in town had never experienced Father Christmas.

The couple, who plan to relocate to the beautiful town of Kareedouw in March this year, decided to embark on a plan to raise funds for a huge Christmas party filled with fun activities, gifts and lots of laughter for the children in the area.

Hendrik said that once they returned home from their trip in April last year, they handed out raffles and began requesting donations from people in their community.

To their surprise, they were able to raise funds and receive gift donations from people in Pretoria, Sandton, Kempton Park, Johannesburg, West Rand, Potchefstroom, Gqeberha and from locals in Kareedouw.

In addition, people in Roodepoort diligently knitted scarves, booties and hoodies for the children, which were handed over to 140 children from the community in Kareedouw.

“Then and there we decided to begin working towards hosting a Christmas party in Karee-douw from our home in Pretoria,” said Hendrik.

Before heading to Kareedouw in December last year, in preparation for their Christmas party on December 16, they travelled to various locations in Gauteng to collect the donations.

“It was unbelievable to see how our plans took off and within a few months the number of children who were meant to join our Christmas party quickly increased to 140,” said Hendrik.

Apart from the generous monetary donations and gifts, Hendrik said local businesses were also keen to contribute to the unforgettable party.

He said Bounce Away, Bendito Jumping Castles, Iets van Alles and RB Electrical donated a total of six jumping castles to add to the fun on the day. De Oude Man Bakery in Gqeberha contributed various treats, Gerrit Nel donated chairs and tables, Kareedouw Koöperasie donated drinks, and Kouga Funerals donated a tent.

Furthermore, Riette Kloppers from Karee-douw handed out beautiful cupcakes to the children.

Hendrik said they were also thankful for the support they received from local business owners, Christo and Christine Briel, who assisted greatly to encourage businesses to contribute to the event, while RB Electrical and TMS also helped where they could.

Finally, after months of preparation, on December 16, the air was filled with excitement as the children arrived to enjoy the live music, jumping castles and face painting.

Hendrik said on the day Joel’s Motorcycles in Gqeberha sponsored boerewors rolls, and gifts for the children, and provided the best surprise of all, a real-life Father Christmas.

He said each child looked on with amazement when Father Christmas drove into the venue on a motorcycle.

“The children were so excited, and all jumped onto him. It was an incredible moment for the children,” said Hendrik.

“The party brought so much joy and happiness and the children were able to escape from their difficult circumstances for a few hours.”

Hendrik said the fun-filled day ended with Father Christmas handing out presents and putting a big smile on each child’s face.

He said planning the Christmas party with the help from so many generous donors was an unbelievably enriching experience and he therefore plans to host 300 children at this year’s Christmas party and put a smile on underprivileged children’s faces for a few hours.

“We thank our heavenly Father for helping us make a small difference in the lives of at least 140 children. The experience has enriched our lives and for that reason we plan on taking on this fundraising task again this year,” said Hendrik.

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