Despite appearances, the distribution of donations meant for fire victims is not a free-for-all, say organisers.
As reported yesterday by the Knysna-Plett Herald, a “shopping spree” happened midday on Monday, April 16, when the mountains of clothes donated from all over South Africa were given away.
Doors were opened to the huge amount of clothes, which have been stored at Woodmill Walk since last year, and the centre was packed with people.
While Fire Disaster’s Jill Morse said the clothes needed to go as they were not in perfect condition, fire victims at the scene were very unhappy that these donations were “simply going without anybody even needing to prove they were ever fire victims”.
But this is not the case, say the custodians of the clothes.
Stefan Goosen of Knysna-Plett Herald reports that Ewan Seton of the One Knysna # OK association – a group started by fire victims for fire victims, who fought hard for the donations to stay in Knysna when the threat of said donations leaving Knysna reared its head – said on 10 April that the sorting of the clothing that has been stored in bags in the Old Edgars building for the last eight months is finally under way.
“Volunteers from the Red Cross, One Knysna and the Knysna Disaster Fund are currently involved in this process,” he said on 10 April.
According to Seaton, collection of the donations by those in need would be strictly by appointment, “but will not be limited to fire victims only”.
“The goods will also be distributed to people who have urgent need of relief as well but were not affected by the fire of June last year,” he said.
Seton added there was a process that people who need assistance in the form of clothing or bedding need to adhere to if they are not fire victims.
“It is essential that people who need to access the goods that were donated for fire victims but are not themselves fire victims notify their churches or the institution where they are registered for assistance and ask them to contact the Red Cross or One Knysna to arrange for an appointment,” he said at the time, adding that these individuals could alternatively register directly with the Red Cross.
“These institutions then need to contact One Knysna and we will book appointments for those institutions to come with the persons in need to allow them to choose the items they feel they may need to help them. In addition to this, if organisations such as crèches, churches or NGOs would like to participate in the project to distribute the goods to the needy, they are welcome to contact us directly and find out how they can participate,” said Seton.
When contacted for comment on the situation at Woodmill Walk today, he confirmed that all the people who were at Woodmill Walk collecting clothes had prearranged to do so.
Fire victims who would like to access the clothes and goods stored in the Old Edgars building need to contact the One Knysna # OK Association to register and to book an appointment.
The easiest way to do so is to join the One Knysna WhatsApp Group or SMS their details directly to Seton on 072 682 8982.