The Friends of Valkenberg Trust, an NPO that works to support Valkenberg Hospital, has put out a call for assistance this Mandela Day.
Every year on 18 July, we are reminded of Nelson Mandela’s legacy and are challenged to integrate a culture of care and collective responsibility within our daily lives.
After assessing the needs of patients and the hospital, the Friends decided to run three concurrent drives for Mandela Day 2017. They are calling for contributions of non-perishable food, clothing and unwanted household goods.
“Everything that we do at Valkenberg Hospital, it is all towards the recovery of the patients,” says Friends of Valkenberg Trust events manager Gail Henry.
The organisation offers services for people in recovery at Valkenberg that help them get back onto their feet and return to their lives in their communities.
“Obviously for each patient, their period of stay within the mental facilities is different. But our aim is to support them within that recovery process.”
Winter food stock collection
The Friends produce food parcels for patients who are being discharged or visiting home for the weekend. All non-perishable food items donated (such as sugar, tea, coffee, long-life milk, dried soup mix, rice, pasta, maize meal, tins of vegetables or meat, instant noodles, jam and peanut butter will go toward these parcels.
“Sometimes, those being discharged, depending on their length of stay at hospital, are impoverished and they are still maybe awaiting for their disability grants to come through,” explains Henry.
“Obviously the social workers know the circumstances of each individual patient,” she says. “And if the social worker feels it fits, they would then notify our department and we will give [the patient] a food parcel to take home.”
Men’s winter clothing collection
The Friends organisation also hopes to bring warmth and renewed self-esteem to the 450 or so patients at Valkenberg Hospital, through a winter clothing drive.
The majority of inpatients at the moment are men, says Henry. Many of them are admitted with only the clothes on their back.
“So obviously it’s winter now. It’s cold ... Please help us with good second-hand clothing that can actually bring warmth to the patients. If they are warm, it is going to support their total recovery process as well,” she says.
Spring clean for recovery
The third of the Friends’ projects is The Friendly Shop, which is run on the hospital premises.
Patients and volunteers who have previously been patients at Valkenberg work in the shop in order to develop skills in retail and business management and to further promote their recovery.
“So we are saying to everybody, take 67 minutes of your time and spring clean your homes. I think we all have unwanted goods in our homes that we don’t really use,” she says.
The proceeds from the items sold in the shop go towards funding various initiatives at the hospital.
The Friends of Valkenberg Trust offices are located at the hospital. Donations can be made between 9:00 and 13:00 from Mondays to Fridays.