Helping families eat, one jar at a time

Over the past two months 1st Hillcrest Scout Group has been making ‘Jars of Hope’ to help families in need of a warm meal. To date they have made over 300 jars. We spoke to Pack Scouter Anthea Rawlins – also Brownie Guider, Teddie Guider and Quarter Master – who spearheaded the project.

“I got the idea about ‘Jars of Hope’ on Facebook just after lockdown started. The person was saying how she makes them up and keeps them in her car to hand out to people in need”, explains Anthea. “At the time the leaders of 1st Hillcrest wanted to help our kids do some sort community service, whilst adhering to the lockdown regulations. I am currently working on my Cub Wood Badge, which requires me to do a community project. Before lockdown I had initially outlined a plan for Heroes for Hunger, which is similar to ‘Jars of Hope’. So I asked Magda – my course director – if I could run with this instead, and she was quite encouraging. The committee and leaders at 1st Hillcrest were all very supportive of me running with the project. We decided that Mandela day would be a nice target to work towards and that we would aim for 500 jars.

Soon the Cubs, Scouts and guides affiliated to 1st Hillcrest were collecting jars and ingredients! “We advertised the project on our WhatsApp groups and our Facebook page. Then we shared a call for support on our community neighbourhood WhatsApp groups. We initially asked for the jars/bottles. Word spread fast. Since it was still lockdown, I arranged certain times for the Scout Hall to be opened for community and parents to drop off their donations. We observed strict safety protocols. Jars and soup ingredients were dropped off and soon we had a nice collection. At the same time I played around with the recipe. I wanted to make sure that what people were getting was nice, as well as healthy and fulfilling”, says Anthea with a smile.

“People have been amazing! One lady from Umhlanga – which is 40 minutes away from Hillcrest – saw our Facebook advert and contacted me as she wanted to contribute. She put together 20 complete jars and delivered them to our hall. Daily I get messages regarding donations of bottles and some soup ingredients. All the small donations have added up and have enabled us to achieve over 300 jars so far. Once we have all the jars filled we will contact the two NPO’s we have identified. The one organisation supports child-headed homes and the other is involved with grannies and grandpas who look after children.  The organisations will collect them in bulk once-off.”

“I love my community”, she states. “Projects like this cannot be done alone. I’m grateful to belong to the Scouting and Guiding community, as well as a Group that supports ideas and encourages us to do our best for the people around us. It takes all the parents, all the kids, all the leaders and the community to make a difference. If one of our jars can feed one family for one night, at least we made a difference to them for one night. As leaders, our kids look at our actions as examples. Through this we can achieve great things for the kids in our care and make great citizens. Because after all, caring and being kind is so much better than being selfish and materialistic.”

“Covid-19 has been like a huge mountain in front of us. Thinking of creative ways to achieve our tasks and advancement has taken some doing to get over the mountain. I salute all the Leaders in the Scouting and Guiding communities because although it is difficult, I see wonderful things happening.”

Anthea started as a Brownie and later as a Girl Guide in Gwelo Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). After immigrating to South Africa she continued her guiding path with the Girl Guides of South Africa. In 1997 she joined 1st Hillcrest Scout Group where she currently serves as a Pack Scouter. “I love what I do, and I love the kids under my care. I have been lucky enough to see young men and young ladies come through the Movement, and it is great to see the young adults they have become!”

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