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SERVING THE INNER CITY AND HOMELESS COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

JOHANNNESBURG – As our country grapples with the growing number of confirmed cases of people infected with the Corona virus (Covid-19), Non-profit organisations (NPOs) are faced with the challenge of how to operate in a very sensitive time. Inner city NPO Mould Empower Serve (MES), operating in Hillbrow, Cape Town, Kempton Park and Port Elizabeth, is facing these real challenges as they continue to serve the homeless and vulnerable inner city communities. NPOs across the country are faced with a huge struggle to help fulfil the very basic survival needs of the homeless and vulnerable people in South Africa’s cities with interventions for food, shelter, protection from harsh weather and overcoming other pressures in their daily living. “There is a whole community of people who might not even be aware of what is happening around them – the homeless community. They make up over 100 000 people in Johannesburg alone and are found at every street corner, every park and homeless shelters,” says Leona Pienaar, Chief Executive Officer of MES. In most cases, the homeless communities are often subject to many communicable or pre-existing illnesses already. They often include elderly people and very young children, and some are people living in conditions of utter desperation that make them vulnerable to a myriad of illnesses. “MES faces the real tough choices of whether to quarantine the people they serve, the challenge on how to protect staff and volunteers, or whether to shut down operations completely until the pandemic subsides, says Pienaar. “It is organisations like MES that operate in the inner cities across the country whose mission it is to support the homeless and the destitute who are taking the initiative to answer these critical questions,” she says. “Even with the track record of looking out for the destitute for so many years, a pandemic like this new Corona Virus, makes it extremely difficult for us to do what we are called to do” states Pienaar. “In our care, we have little children in our ECD centres, we have learners in our Training Centres and After School Programmes, we have older people in our shelters, in our canteens we have volunteers serving meals daily,” she adds. “There are so many questions facing us as an organisation. I can imagine that so many of my NPO colleagues across the country are asking themselves the same questions” states Pienaar. In President Cycril Ramaphosa’s recent address the nation, he emphasised that this is a time that we need to work together to get to a solution for this pandemic. If we are not strategic and quell the fears of our people, the Corona Virus will have a far-reaching impact on all of us, especially on those who are poor and destitute. MES is concerned with this impact and on what can be done to protect and educate the homeless community about Covid-19. WHAT MES IS DOING TO MITIGATE THE RISKS MES has been supporting the homeless, marginalised and destitute in the inner cities of South ...

SERVING THE INNER CITY AND HOMELESS COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19 LOCKDOWN

JOHANNNESBURG – In the fight against the Coronavirus Covid-19 (Covid-19), thousands of homeless and vulnerable people in the city are faced with a great safety dilemma – where to self-isolate in order to avoid the spread of the virus. Inner city NPO Mould Empower Serve (MES), which operates in Hillbrow, Cape Town, Kempton Park and Port Elizabeth, has stepped in to help the marginalised people of these inner cities during this critical time. Since the official announcement by president Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa declaring a national lockdown, MES has kept its shelter operations and food distribution points open to help the high numbers of vulnerable people who came to their doorstep for assistance. The call for all citizens to stay at home in order to help flatten-the-curve of the Covid-19 has proven effective when implemented in other countries across the world, however, South Africa also hosts hundreds of thousands of homeless people with no place to find shelter even under normal circumstances, especially those in the inner-city metropolitan areas in the country. “There is a whole community of over 100 000 homeless people in Johannesburg alone who are often subject to many communicable or pre-existing illnesses already, and yet have no place to self-isolate,” says Leona Pienaar, Chief Executive Officer of MES. The NPO reports that there has been significant progress since their initial appeal to the public for donations and is thankful for the support. “So far we have been able to distribute food parcels to vulnerable families in our care, we waived fees for creche parents for April, keep our shelters open, clean and safe, and offered healthy meals to those residing in our shelters during this period and we are extremely grateful for the support!” she says. “Both our shelters in Johannesburg are operating at full capacity, as well as the one in Kempton Park and in Port Elizabeth. The Cape Town shelter is also at full capacity with a waiting list of over 300 people,” Pienaar states. “We have been working with the Department of Social Development officials across the country to take in more people at all our shelters. I. support of the City of Johannesburg, we opened up our Impilo facility in Hillbrow (formerly a HIV/Aids hospice) as an additional facility to accommodate a new intake of homeless women and disabled people,” she adds. Thirty clients including eight with disabilities were placed at the facility over the weekend. “Unfortunately, fifteen of the women decided to leave the premises due to drug withdrawal symptoms. However, we have eight women that are now on the SANCA programme as they are determined to make a change,” Pienaar states. MES stated they will continue to place women at the shelter, thirty at a time to settle them in until they reach the facility’s capacity of one hundred. HOW CAN THE PUBLIC GET INVOLVED? MES is appealing to the general public and all organisations for assistance during this critical time in order to fully capacitate the additional emergency shelter. Public can ...

JOIN US ON 17 MAY FOR HILLBROW UNPLUGGED WINTER WANDER

You are invited to join MES on 17 May for the twelfth annual Hillbrow Unplugged Winter Wander gala fundraising event. Featuring award-wining performances by Samantha Peo and Clifford Cooper in their cabaret-style production Soulfire and Fireflies, DECA’s striking instrumental arrangements, and special guest Deshun Deysel, all contributing to celebrating the work of MES. Tickets for the evening are being sold for R10 000 a table of ten guests, or R1000 per individual guest. All proceeds from the evening will go toward the continuation of MES' work. For more information, please contact Leona Pienaar on 011 725 6531 or leona@mes.org.za READ MORE

HILLBROW UNPLUGGED BRINGS HOPE TO THE HEART OF URBAN COMMUNITIES

Last night the inner city organisation Mould Empower Serve (MES) celebrated their achievements of the last 31 years and showcase their services to the challenged communities in the South African metropolitan cities at the twelfth MES Hillbrow Unplugged fundraiser event held in the heart of Hillbrow. The night featured an inspirational talk by special guest speaker and adventurer Deshun Deysel as well as award-wining performances by Samantha Peo and Clifford Cooper in their cabaret-style production Soulfire and Fireflies and DECA’s striking instrumental arrangements; all contributing to celebrate the life-changing work of MES. Wenzile Madonsela, from the Thuli Madonsela Foundation (Thuma), was the programme director for the night. “We would like to extend a tremendous heartfelt thank you to all our guests, organisers, entertainers and staff who made the evening another exquisite affair and an overwhelming success” says Rev. Alan Childs, CEO of MES. “Hillbrow Unplugged has been a part of the MES events calendar since 2007, and each year it keeps getting bigger and better!” READ MORE

MES KEMPTON PARK – SPONSOR A LOCKER, FOR ONLY R500

Every shelter client needs a safe space, where he or she can lock away valuables, every evening. The current lockers, unfortunately, have deteriorated, and need to be replaced. If you would like to make a contribution, please let us know. Our banking details are: ABSA Bank Savings Account: 922 865 7779 Branch code: 632 005 Reference: Surname and Locker

24 OCTOBER – MES CAPE TOWN BIRTHDAY DINNER AND SHOW CELEBRATIONS!

Cape Town is celebrating its significant milestone tenth year of hope and empowerment. The main celebration will take place in the form of a gala benefit and show on 24 October. Elvis Blue is our special guest for the evening and long-time friend, and patron of MES, Coenie De Villiers will act as master of ceremony. Avoid disappointment and book now. Corporate tables are selling @ R10 000 (seats 10) and individual tickets are selling @ R600. All proceeds of the evening will go directly towards the extraordinary work that MES has been doing since 2008 for the homeless, the unemployed, and those in need of social support. Contact Anelle at 021 949 8736 or anelle@mes.org.za. MORE INFORMATION  

17 NOVEMBER – MES KEMPTON PARK FOOD DRIVE AND FUN DAY, HOSTED BY CAVENDISH GLEN SHOPPING CENTRE AND INTERCARE GLEN MARAIS

Cavendish Glen and Intercare Glen Marais will host a family fun day and festive food drive on 17 November, in aid of MES Kempton Park. Members of the public are invited to partake in the day by contributing non-perishable items. The day will feature special entertainment and activities for everyone. “As businesses from Cavendish Glen, we would like to give back to the community. We know MES Kempton Park is in urgent need of non-perishable items and therefore decided to make the organisation the beneficiary of our Food Drive this year,” says Ada Botes, Practice Manager at Intercare Glen Marais. To add to festive celebrations on the day, Cavendish Glen will have discount vouchers available for the various shops at the shopping centre. Other entertainment and activities for the day includes: Motorcycle display organised by the Christian Motorcyclists Association of South Africa (CMSA) Performance by Kyle Folk dancing An entertainment area for the kids – do not miss the face painting and clown! The Coco Cola Music Truck and dancers sponsored by Maxi’s The opportunity to donate blood Intercare will provide blood pressure and weight assessments (Free testing) Lancet will provide cholesterol and sugar level assessments (Free testing) Haasbroek Optometrist will be available for eye tests Kind 2 Hearing will provide hearing tests Make-up tips from Clicks READ THE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT HERE

FEBRUARY, MARCH, APRIL STREET OUTREACHES – MES KEMPTON PARK

You are cordially invited to the following street outreaches, organised by MES. It gives you the opportunity to share the gospel and a cup of soup and bread with the underprivileged people living on the streets of Kempton Park. We will meet at 18:00 at our offices located at 6 Kempton Road. Parking will be available inside the premises. Help make a difference, join us on the following days: Tuesday, 5 February 2019 Tuesday, 5 March 2019 Tuesday, 2 April 2019 If you would like to donate soup or bread, please contact Duane Edwards on 011 024 4580, or email him here.

WINTER HOPE / WINTERHOOP RETURNS IN JUNE WITH A GREATER AND IMPROVED NATIONAL DRIVE

The Winter HOPE drive, which encourages everyone to collect warm winter clothes, blankets and non-perishable food items for distribution to people in need during the cold winter months, returns to cities across South Africa in June.  Last year more than 4 400 blankets and just over 2 000 beanies were collected via the Winter HOPE drive. Approximately 7 000 shopping bags with clothing items and non-perishables were gathered, and more than a 1 000 people were provided with shelter during the campaign. Winter HOPE is a partnership of giving, which has grown in reach and influence over the past 19 years. This year’s partners comprise a national footprint of organisations, which is led by MES (Johannesburg, Kempton Park, Port Elizabeth, Cape Town), PEN (Pretoria), Towers of Hope (Bloemfontein) and the Denis Hurley Centre (Durban). Visit www.winterhoop.org for more information, or click here for a copy of the media release.

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