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Build a backpack for the homeless on Mandela Month

Build a backpack for the homeless on Mandela Month

Based at the Rosebank Catholic Church and run by the Rosebank Homeless Association, the Immaculata Shelter is one of few dedicated shelters for the homeless in Joburg’s northern suburbs. As well as safe shelter, the association provides skills training and help with documentation for the homeless, working to help people get back on their feet with dignity.

To support efforts by the shelter, the Rosebank Management District has initiated the Build a Backpack campaign aimed at providing some necessary essentials this Mandela Month. RMD’s District Manager, Mikhaela Donaldson, says the Rosebank Districts (LRMD and RMD) are committed to supporting initiatives that help build the neighbourhood and support the community. “The Build a Backpack campaign is a small step in supporting the most vulnerable members of our community by providing them with not only some of the most basic necessities to survive the cold this winter but also giving them a means to safeguard their belongings and preserve their dignity”. 

With an alarming increase of unemployed persons in Joburg and the inevitable change of season, the number of people approaching the shelter is steadily on the rise. Currently, the Immaculata Shelter can accommodate up to 100 people providing them with a place to sleep and a nutritious meal daily.

“Mandela month is in one of our coldest  winter months so we appeal to the community to remember those who are less fortunate. At present we have more than 550 people registered with us to receive clothes and basics to survive. These people are constantly on their feet walking around to make ends meet and a pair of shoes goes a long way to get them there” notes Fiona Manoim, a Social Worker at Immaculata Shelter.

Chairperson of the RHA, Judith Briggs addressing media on social issues in Rosebank

Without a place to call home, many people experiencing homelessness are forced to carry their belongings with them. By providing a sturdy backpack, you can help  safeguard their belongings and preserve the dignity of people in need. Provide a backpack and fill it with some or all of these items:

  • Clothing for men and women
  • Shoes and socks, trousers, jerseys and beanies
  • Toiletries
  • Bath soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant and body lotion
  • Bath towel
  • Blanket
  • Laundry detergent

Donations can be dropped off at Rosebank Mall’s charity box accessible at the Cradock Ave entrance. The campaign will run until 31 July 2023. For bulk donations pick-up and more information please contact Basil on +27 71 764 1972.

Here is some useful information about the Immacalata Shelter:

How many people use the shelter? 

This is divided into two groups – residents (live in at full capacity) and day visitors. Currently the shelter houses 100 people (80 men and 20 ladies), adults only. Day visitors can be anything up to 120 with access to bathing facilities and a hot morning meal. This is from Monday to Friday. No public holidays. 

What does the shelter provide?

Residents receive a light breakfast and hot evening meal. They have access to bathing facilities, a place to sleep and storage for their belongings. They have to be out during the day working. Clothes, toiletries and blankets are also provided on availability to all our beneficiaries.

How does access to the shelter work?

All homeless people are permitted access to the shelter. Residents are assessed for suitability prior to being accommodated.

What are the challenges of running the shelter? 

Our challenges are meeting the needs of all those who approach us for accommodation due to the availability of space. Also, the provision of clothing and other basic necessities.

For contributions and support to the Immaculate Shelter, directly contact Michael Ntuli on +27 11 447 9801 or +27 73 321 0968. The Shelter is located on 17 Sturdee Ave, Rosebank, 2196 in the Sisters of Mercy Immaculata Hall.

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