Word on Westlake #4

Congratulations to Veloshni Baker on the confirmation of her position as General Manager of WUCT, the Westlake United Churches Trust. She is an occasional contributor to my blog, and it is with pleasure that I publish her most recent newsletter here.

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Thank God! Lockdown has moved down to Level 2 with Level 1 on the horizon! What started off in March as an anticipated sprint through what we thought would be a three-week Lockdown, actually evolved into a gruelling marathon. The Westlake residents are weary, all are feeling the stress on finances. Gambling houses are now taking bets on when the pandemic will end!

To make things worse, our offices were broken into, doors and gates smashed. (With our own fire extinguisher and dumb bell, nogal… Very cheeky of the thieves, I thought!) Our essential services vehicle was written, victim of someone else’s reckless driving. Two more of our essential services staff tested positive. Some of our staff had family that died of Covid 19…

At my wits end, I just got down on my knees and prayed. And light dawned on me – trials happen: and one can be burdened by negativity and depression, or one can fight back with positivity and NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP! And that is what we did. We determinedly cheered up Westlake, bringing joy to the children in our Support groups. An amazing art competition was held. Excitement spread amongst the children; so too amongst generous donors who created the most beautiful prizes and kindly knitted warm winter items. Then the staff made several trips to collect competition entries and deliver prizes. It was absolute delight to witness the joy on the children’s faces when the prizes were handed out! Thank you, donors for your outstanding kindness that hugely impacted our children. YOU made this happen!

One of Our Children

In July, our pre-schoolers and support-group children came back to our Centre, strictly socially distanced, of course… They were so thrilled to be back in caring spaces where they could connect with their friends and the staff again. What joy to see their shining, smiling eyes! The annual Christmas party for our Support group children and pre-school takes place in the last week of November. Any assistance with creating a Santa shoe box for each child will be truly appreciated. Or do an EFT with the reference ‘’Santa’’. Send me an email and you will receive photo of the gift and the recipient (cost of a gift is R250)

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Galatian 6:9

We are still feeding the vulnerable – our HIV, TB patients, elderly and chronic diseases group, and mums and babies group. MASSIVE THANKS to all our donors, who have helped us provide 1981 food parcels, 2150 masks and 1600 sanitisers to the Westlake community. This is essentially 138,670 meals!

Carer Distributing Food Parcel (We advise recipients to wear masks, but can’t insist.)

Lockdown has seen an increase in abuse and depression. A depressed man hung himself on a tree in Westlake, to the shock of our staff who discovered the corpse! Therefore, I am raising funds to convert our container on site, into a Counselling House, where social workers and counsellors can assist the suffering and abused victims.

On this marathon, some of you have cheered us on, others provided much needed donations of cash and kind. Yet more sent regular encouraging messages, some prayed, others jumped on board each time I needed support with an urgent project. How blessed Westlake is to have so many helpers! We could not have made it up this steep hill without you. You are the scaffolding that holds us up. You are precious to us… Keep smiling. Stay positive. We can get through this together!

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Veloshni Baker: GM WUCT

Visit http://www.wuct.org.za for more information.

Donate to: WESTLAKE UNITED CHURCH TRUST

First National Bank (South Africa) a/c: 62019764184

Branch Code: 250655

Reference: Surname & CORONA

Swift Code: FIRNZAJJ

Please email veloshni@wuct.org.za should you require an 18a Certificate & updates.

International donors email veloshni@wuct.org.za to make arrangements.

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