The South African Friends of Israel (SAFI) has been partnering with certain churches to bring warmth in winter to needy Gauteng communities through its “Blankets for Hope” blanket drive.
Elderly people in Booysens and children in Eldorado Park were the most recent recipients of blankets provided by a generous sponsor from Israel who sent 3 000 blankets to South Africa for giving to those most vulnerable to the elements.
SAFI is an initiative of the South Africa Zionist Federation focused on building relationships with South African communities in creating support for Israel through a shared biblical connection to the Holy Land. The churches it is partnering with through Blankets for Hope have previously allowed SAFI to educate their members about Israel and the shared biblical heritage of Christians and Jews. SAFI says partnering with these churches is a way of giving to those who have given them a warm welcome and been receptive to their message.
Speaking about how the church, Shekinah Glory Faith Ministries, in Booysens was identified to be part of the initiative SAFI Executive Director Gavi Sacks said: “This community has supported Israel and has great understanding of why there needs to be a biblical connection between the church and the Holy Land, Israel. We have come, partnering with an Israeli organisation that has donated 3 000 blankets as well as a soup kitchen to give warmth to people in need over these winter months.
“They say that those who give will receive. With the intention of giving, we hope that those we empower, will give to others that are in need.”
Speaking about SAFI’s commitment to building friendship with the Christian community, he said SAFI organised for religious leaders to go to Israel last year. They engage in ongoing fundraising efforts to sponsor more pastors and Christians to visit the Holy Land.
SAFI plans to travel throughout South Africa meeting with various churches to help alleviate the scourge of poverty. The township of Madidi in North West has already benefitted from SAFI’s generous giving.
Sacks said the elderly community of Booysens was chosen for receiving blankets and soup because, sadly many of them go without. Some of them do not even receive pensions. They are hardest hit by poverty and are the ones who suffer the most during winter.
Guests at the Blankets for Hope event in Booysens included a chaplain from the Sun City Prison, one of the elders from the Soweto Ministers Fraternal and Minister Mbokazi from Dumisa TV.
Most of the elderly people at the event were invited by Pastor Ruth Mokoena through her show on Jozi FM.
Apostle Nomagugu Thangelani , the founder of Selfless Foundation, coordinated and invited people and pastors from different fraternals. Speaking at the event, she encouraged South Africans to go to Israel and see the Holy Land for themselves. She said she has been to Israel and never saw the apartheid that is reported in the media; instead she saw “Arabs and Israelis walking together.”