Winter is by far the hardest season for a large portion of our population who are living on the bread line and without a solid roof over their heads. According to Stats SA’s General Household Survey report for 2017, 10,4% of households were vulnerable to hunger in 2017 and almost 20% of the population were living outside of the formal housing sector.

As a way of giving back this Winter, RE/MAX is running our annual Coats & Cans drive from June to July where people can drop off all their unwanted coats, winter woollies and non-perishable food items at our participating offices across the country. This year, we are also encouraging the public to make donations of pet blankets and pet food which will be dropped off at various animal welfare organisations across the country at the end of the drive.  

If you do not have a RE/MAX office nearby, there are other ways you can give back this Winter. Below, RE/MAX of Southern Africa suggests a few free and creative ways to help your fellow man over this frosty season:

1. Raise funds by shopping wisely

These days, many companies donate a portion of the sales price to a charitable cause on their patrons’ behalf. The My School My Village My Planet card is just one example of this. By swiping your card at any of the partner stores, a percentage of your purchase value goes to the school or charity you choose at . Some fast food outlets also ask to add an extra R2 to your total to donate towards feeding the hungry.

2. Think near, not far

Often, we are so preoccupied with doing good deeds on a large scale that we overlook the little ways we could be helping those right under our noses. If you’ve got friends or neighbours who haven’t left the house in months because they cannot afford a babysitter, then offer your services free of charge for the night. Or pack an extra lunch for the person in need who you happen to pass during your morning commute.

3. Turn your hobbies into giving opportunities

 If you’re struggling to figure out how to give back, start with the things you enjoy and work your way from there. For example, if you’re a runner or cyclist, then join a charity race this Winter. If you love children, then volunteer your time at a local children’s home. For animal lovers, local pet shelters are always in need of an extra hand to walk the dogs and clean the cages. And environmentalists can get involved in beach clean-ups.  

Have other suggestions for ways to give back this Winter? Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn to share your ideas with our online community by leaving a comment on our Coats & Cans posts.