Photo Credit: The Re-Trade Project

The Re-Trade Project has been a lifeline to people needing food during the lockdown, their little store helped many feed their families.


Port Elizabeth, South Africa (17 September 2020) – The Re-Trade Project helps the homeless by allowing them to trade recyclable items for food, clothing and toiletries. The organisation is a non-profit that aims to grant the homeless a dignified way to sustain themselves.

This opportunity offers the homeless a way to uplift themselves without feeling like they are receiving a handout. They have to work to earn items from the trading depot which then helps develop a healthy work ethic.

The trading depot uses funds from the recycled items to restock the shelves but the NPO also relies on physical and financial donations from the public to keep the shelves properly stocked.

Maria Grewar founded the Re-Trade Project to address poverty in Walmer Park as well as the high pollution and dumping rate in the area. By launching the trade shop, the community shifted and started to look tidy and people who previously loitered or begged started cleaning up their surroundings.

The shops ten most essential items include Tomato and Onion Mix, Instant Soup, Rice, Pasta, Oats, Oil, Long-life Milk, Coffee, Mealie Pap and Sugar.

We spoke with Maria to discuss what effect the lockdown has had on the project. She confirmed that the store became a lifeline for families as they collected recycling and traded it for much-needed food.

They closed during level 5 but thanks to partnerships during that time, they were able to deliver emergency packs to their traders and the community at large. In the end, they helped feed over 1500 people while they waited for the lower lockdown levels to allow trade again.

They opened their doors at level 4 which allowed their traders to get back to work. To lend a helping hand, they kept the prices of their stock very low which enabled many traders to join the project.

 A new hope for traders and recycling

Aside from the food, the project is in need of clothing. Light, comfortable summer items would be perfect now as the weather warms but also warm, water-proof items for those days when the weather can be a bit harsh. Good shoes are also helpful donations for the shop to use. Volunteers are also needed so if you want to give back in a cool way, you can do that too!

Re-Trade are inviting the public to join them in a massive community clean up for National Recycling Day tomorrow. They are meeting up at their Re-Trade centre to take in your recycling. All you need to do is clean up your community, park or local beach and take the bags to them, along with a donation or two for their traders that rely on the store.

“Clean your street, your beach, your park or bring some of your recycling from home! Snap a selfie when you come down and tag us to stand a chance to win 2 vouchers to SANCCOB Penguin rescue and a goody hamper!
Plus meet some of our traders and bring a tin of food or two”

You can find out more via their Facebook page here.

The organisation and Maria have also been nominated for the Santam Women of the Future Award in association with Fairlady Magazine and True Love Mag as Social Entrepreneur of the year. If you wish to help her out, you can vote here.

Sources: Re-Trade Project
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About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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