“Contributions from cardholders supporting the Grace Factory, helps us to buy more maternity packs,” says Amy Westerman, the founder of The Grace Factory, which has been supplying thousands of new moms with essential maternity packs, and babies and kids with much-needed supplies since 2013.
A MySchool beneficiary, The Grace Factory has always been a cause I’ve cared about, and I’ve seen over the years how much Amy and her team – and all the volunteers and donors – have done to change lives and outcomes (I’m not saying this lightly).
Primarily, The Grace Factory provides maternity packs to new moms in need in government hospitals and clinics – with the ultimate aim of restoring hope and reducing child abandonment. These packs include an outfit, vest, beanie, blanket, socks, nappies, wipes, bum cream, aqueous cream, baby soap, face cloth and maternity pads.
These maternity packs don’t just fill a practical need. “By giving the new moms maternity packs, they see that someone cares, and as a result, they feel nurtured and positive, and less likely to abandon their babies,” says Amy. “They feel more confident about taking on motherhood because someone has thought about them and cared.”
More than just dropping off hampers at the clinics and hospitals, Amy and the volunteers spend time chatting to the new moms, spreading happiness and instilling more confidence in them.
The Grace Factory’s secondary goal is to support children’s homes by providing them with basic necessities such as clothes, blankets, toiletries, nappies, formula and toys.
The MySchool programme is 21 years old, and so far they’ve given more than R500 million to South African schools, charities, animal and environmental causes thanks to supporters swiping their cards at participating retailers like Woolworths, or inputting their card details on sites like Loot.
Currently, there are 1 200 000 active cardholders raising funds for over 8 000 beneficiaries of the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet programme, of which more than 890 000 swipe for schools; 102 000 for MyVillage charities and 137 000 for MyPlanet organisations.
In celebration of its 21st anniversary, MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet has launched the ‘21 years of Giving Back’ campaign with R2.1 million to give away to 21 causes. Supporters are invited, until the end of February 2019, to nominate any South African charitable organisation that matters to them.
In May, 21 winning beneficiary organisations will be chosen from the list of nominations to each receive R100 000, and the supporters who nominated them will each receive a R1 000 Woolies gift card.
MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet is also making donations to a selection of causes, in celebration of their milestone birthday. So far 21 of the SPCA’s most in need each received R10 000-00; 21 000 Book Dash books were added to Santa’s Shoeboxes; 2 100 Tutudesks will be donated to learners at under-resourced schools in Limpopo; and 21 ‘Smiles’ (cleft lip/palate operations) with Operation Smile will be implemented in April.
The 21 Years of Giving Back campaign is open to MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet supporters throughout the country. If you are not yet a cardholder, you can sign up for free at www.myschool.co.za or download the MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet App, and nominate the cause that matters to you.