Biker raises 330 blankets for shelter

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IOL mot pic jun9 Blanket Gift 1 Dave Abrahams Pastor Jack Mahoney of The Ark, left, and Shane Weyers in front of some of the more than 330 blankets donated by the management and staff of Auto Atlantic.

Cape Town – Shane Weyers’ wife Chantel doesn’t let him smoke in the house. So, on one of the coldest, wettest, most miserable nights so far this winter, this keen biker, who recently moved to the Cape from Mpumalanga, found himself standing outside, dressed in shorts and T-shirt - and shivering.

Safely back inside, Weyers couldn’t shake off the thought of Cape Town’s homeless, stuck outside in the bitter Cape winter or queuing to get into a shelter, and knew that he had to do something to help – but what? He and Chantel could afford to buy about half a dozen blankets, but that would scarcely put a dent in the problem.

So the next day he challenged the staff at Auto Atlantic, where he works as a car salesman, to each put up enough money for a blanket. By the end of the day he had R5000 – and the company had pledged to match whatever the staff put up.

Two days later, the pledges topped R15 000, enough to place an order for about 330 blankets, and still the money kept coming in. Weyers then contacted the Straw Dogs motorcycle club, hosts of this year’s Blood Run, and they put him in touch with The Ark City of Refuge in Faure, which shelters 800 homeless, destitute and abandoned people at any one time.

SOFT, BRAND NEW BLANKETS

And on Saturday evening, at the close of the 2014 Blood Run at Youngsfield military base, Weyers, Chantel (also a biker in her own right) and Lawrence Herbert, customer relations manager of Auto Atlantic, handed over bale after bale of soft, brand new, blankets – enough to fill the back of a one-ton bakkie - to Pastor Jack Mahoney of the Ark, who said that while a few hundred blankets would not meet all their needs, for the next 330 people who came in to the Ark out of the winter cold, just one blanket would be a lot warmer than none.

IOL mot pic jun9 Blanket Gift 2 From left, Shane Weyers, Pastor Jack Mahoney of The Ark, Desmond Pretorius of Straw Dogs motorcycle club and Lawrence Herbert, customer relations manager of Auto Atlantic, load some of the more than 330 blankets into The Ark's bakkie.

Then Weyers quietly handed over a cheque for the money which had been pledged after the blankets were ordered – R6600 of it! - to Ryan Jarley, representing the White-Line Riders, who support a soup kitchen in Elsie’s River that feeds hundreds of homeless people every day.

It’s easy to ask, “What can one person do?” It’s astonishing what one person with an idea and a lot of perseverance can accomplish.


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