Winter 'I can do anything'
Photo Credit: Michael Burrows via Pexels

We have 10 ways you can lend a helping hand this winter to causes in need and warm your own heart in the process.


South Africa (30 May 2024)— Every year, we feature various ways to give back during the colder months, and this year, we thought we would help you and charities brace for the cold. Winter always affects animals, the elderly, the homeless, and the vulnerable members of society. There is so much we can do to help them get through it.

If you are looking for some inspiring things to do or ways to give back, we have the perfect to-do list!

1. Support a Soup Kitchen.

Soup kitchens and feeding schemes feed so many South Africans and people in need. Whether through schools or charities, these kitchens run thanks to the help of volunteers and donations. By supporting these places with food donations, financial donations or volunteering your time, you help someone go to sleep with a warm meal in their belly.

If you are looking for an organisation to support, check out our charity list here.

2. Make a Jar of Hope or Meal in a Bag

The “meal bag”/Jar of Hope is made up of six simple non-perishable pantry ingredients that make up a meal when water is added.

These meal bags have the ability to create a wholesome meal for four people and at an affordable price for the donor. The non-perishable ingredients within the mix are filled with nutrients and each ingredient is inexpensive. Purchasing these in bulk allows a donor to make up many bags.

They are great to keep in your car to give to car guards, people begging and delivery drivers who drop off your groceries.

To make one or more of these meals, you can find more information here.

3. Knit a Blanket, Scarf or Other Warm Clothing.

Organisations like 67 Blankets for Mandela Day give people the chance to knit or crochet blankets and scarves that are then distributed to young and old throughout the winter season. If you have a passion for knitting, you can also knit warm blankets for your local animal welfare shelter or organisations that specialise in caring for babies.

You can find all the organisations running knitting projects here.

4. Donate a Kennel.

There are several organisations that build dog kennels for animals in underprivileged communities. These kennels help shield animals from the harsh winter elements.

Kennels can be made from pallet wood or purchased and donated to a cause. Give your local animal welfare organisation a call and see if they are helping to provide shelter for dogs in need.

Sadly, many informal homes do not have enough space inside for dogs to sleep. Some homes are merely one room and house several generations. In these cases, a warm and waterproofed kennel is the space where these much-loved dogs find their shelter. These families are doing their very best to provide for their pets.

You can read our latest heartwarming kennel story here.

5. Collect Warm Clothing.

A warm pair of socks or gloves can be a real treat to someone who has to brave the elements at night. Go through all the wardrobes in your home and collect the warm items that can be donated. Call up your local charity, church or shelter and offer warm items for their winter clothing drives.

You can find all our charity lists here, there are several one can use to find a cause in need of clothing.

6. Donate Blankets and Towels.

Blankets and towels are significant donations for all types of organisations. Animal welfare charities and shelters both need warm cover for the people and animals they work with.

If you have well-loved blankets or towels, see if there is an organisation that could do with the donations.

You can find all the animal charities we love here.

7. Pay for a Night at the Shelter.

There are many shelters around South Africa, and most require that people pay for their beds. You can make someone’s life easier by covering the very low cost for a night or two.

You can find a list of shelters via our charity list here. Should you want another form of inspiration, you can consider donating a Shelterbag to someone in need. You can find out more about the Shelterbag here.

8. Buy a Cup of Coffee.

There are coffee shops in South Africa that now offer a kindness system so you can purchase a coffee or tea, and someone in need gets the coffee or tea when they come in at a later stage.

This allows people a moment of warmth on chilly days and fills them with the spirit of kindness. Or, if you see someone in need, purchasing them something warm to drink can make all the difference.

9. Pay Someone’s Winter Lay-by.

Hardworking people place things on lay-by, which they then pay off over time until they can have the goods. If you visit your local PEP and check for lay-bys containing winter uniforms, baby clothing or winter clothes. Let the cashier know you would like to pay towards the lay-by, and should it be fully covered, they will call the person to notify them.

10. Donate Blood

During winter, blood stocks typically decline. The weather is not always conducive to going out, and blood donors suffer from colds and flu, and can subsequently not donate blood – up until the resolution of symptoms. SANBS needs to collect 3500 units of blood a day to have a good stock level. This ensures that there is enough to treat people throughout South Africa.

If you would like to become a donor, you can find out more here.

Sources: Various – Linked Above
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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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