ER24 and Rays of Hope Proudly part of 67 minutes of service

It is with a lump in our throat that we write the article based on what we just witnessed as part of our 67 minutes of service for Mandela Day.

No words can explain the feeling you get from giving back, and that’s just what the ER24 JHB North crews did. Without prompting, an Advanced Life Support Paramedics from the JHB North branch, Phoenix Bean, decided that what she wanted to do was collect soup and other non perishable food stuffs to donate to those less fortunate.

Phoenix encouraged everyone she could to take part, going our with her crew mates from the JHB North branch to various pharmacies and Pick n Pays in the area asking them if they could please leave a collection box with them for the public to fill.

After a few short weeks, the boxes were filled to the brim, some overflowing with goods, and it was just in time for Mandela Day on the 18th of July.

Phoenix had contacted a member of the Rays of Hope team, who support various entities in the Alexandra vicinity in Sandton. It was decided that those who would benefit most out of the donations would be the elderly ladies living at 56 18th Avenue, the children at the creche on 17th Avenue and the ladies working to fund the Rays of Hope initiative.

With more than enough soup and goods to hand to everyone, it was a case of the recipients being grateful for the items, but even more excited to meet their heroes in red and show them how they live they way they do, and how they get by day to day.

The elderly ladies make beaded items made out of paper that is rolled up and then varnished to look like beads, which is truly an amazing talent and idea that they have come up with, creating beautiful items that they sell. The children in the creche are mainly from child headed households, and any help that they can get is welcomed. The ladies from the Rays of Hope center, use industrial type box strapping to make the most amazing bags that they too sell in order to fund the charity organisation.

With each group singing their own version of Happy Birthday to Madiba, it was difficult to contain the emotion, be it humbleness or pure pride at being able to be part of something so amazing. Each one of us who was able to be involved has taken something away from these amazing people that in our everyday urban life, appear to be hidden away behind the usual negativity of the Alexandra area.

For 67 minutes and then some, we were together, celebrating something good.

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Vanessa Jackson

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