Blanket Drive tops target as swimmers brave the cold

Participants at the blanket drive at Radisson Red rooftop.

Members of the public, the Radisson Red Waterfront team, and participants from community upliftment organisation 9Miles Project in Strandfontein, braved the rain and cold on Saturday June 17 to swim laps for blankets to keep children warm this winter.

The Radisson Red in Waterfront once again partnered with the 9Miles Project for a blanket drive event. For each lap swam, one blanket was donated to the 9Miles Project to distribute to communities in need.

While the goal was to donate 100 blankets, the total blankets donated for the day was 260, said marketing manager at the Radisson Red, Dayle Theunissen.

The Blanket Drive was launched last year, inviting the public to swim laps to donate blankets through the 9Miles Project. The concept was supported by the idea that the swimmers got cold so that others could get warm.

Danielle Paulsen, Juanay van Reenen and Faieq Samodien, from the 9Miles Project in Strandfontein, after their swim.

Participants could contribute a new or gently used blanket for every lap they swam.

Communications manager at the 9Miles Project, Carmen Davids, said the blankets will make a real difference in the lives of those who are most in need.

She said of the blankets they received from the drive last year were donated to children and families in the organisation’s programmes, and some were handed to a local early childhood development centre.

Some were also in use at the 9Miles Project Youth Centre at Strandfontein Pavilion, which and come in handy on cold days, she said.

The general manager at Radisson Red, Leonie Andereya, said the drive was launched to create awareness for the struggles faced by the homeless in these harsh and cold winter months. “The idea was to create an event that not only rallies support from the communities but also is something that’ll catch on and we are thrilled with the overwhelming support we received for this Blanket Drive.”

Swimming laps for blankets.

She said the generosity displayed by the public demonstrates the compassion and unity that defines community.

One of the participants of the blanket drive, Matthew Anthony, of Strandfontein, said the weather was extremely cold and miserable. “The swim itself was great but getting out of the cold pool and into the rain was tough.

“This is where I felt honoured to be part of the donation drive, giving blankets to those in need. I’ll definitely do it again next year.”

The blanket drive runs up until Friday June 30, and the public can drop off their blanket donations at the Radisson RED Waterfront up to then.

The blankets will then be handed over to 9Miles Project, where they will facilitate the distribution to those in need.