From The Director’s Desk
2019! Wow, what a full and wonderful year it has been! As I reflect on the past 11 months I am reminded of so many impactful events - moments of success, growth and connection while we also experienced struggle, failure and sharp learning curves. It is what makes life truly beautiful, however, and we are grateful for all that we have had the great privilege of witnessing this past year.
Some of the highlights from 2019 included the following:
- A fabulous and committed team of volunteers who selflessly have donated their time and energy each week to assist our traders and community members. We couldn’t do it without each and every one of you!
- We have had a good turnover with old and new traders – many of whom find work in between informally trading with us to help fill the gap (and stomach!). Approximately between 15-20 families.
- We have recycled and saved approximately 11 tonnes from the tips of Port Elizabeth this year! Yahoo!
- We’ve had absolutely amazing collaborations and partnerships with the following companies:
- Nedbank Port Elizabeth who performed a beach clean-up and food drive
- Cupboard Love who monthly run a Reduce, Reuse, Recycle event and donate the proceeds and run a food collection
- Bella Babes of Port Elizabeth – particularly Melissa Nel who chose ReTrade as her charity of choice and raised well over R1000 in our benefit
- ReTrade teamed up with SANCCOB for their benefit auction 2019 as well as a beach clean-up with them and our friends at Sustainable Seas Trust
- South African Breweries joined us for a fantastic day of raising corporate awareness as well as performing their corporate social responsibility with our team. They also donated towards new programs and building materials needed for 2020
- 3 of our top traders were aided with new and improved pull carts from our friends at Indalo World to help ease their load with transport
- Most exciting social news: we had the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Prince Harry and Princess Meghan) choose The ReTrade Project as one of only 17 charities of the month of October (1 of 3 African chosen organisations) who represent the shared value of “Togetherness” – what an honour!
- We have had multiple TV interviews and newspaper articles as well as a podcast, a webinar and a few award nominations
- ReTrade continues to have a fabulous and easy working relationship with our waste removal company, BEHR Recycling! You have greatly aided our cause this year!
- Most of our day-to-day food donations and volunteers come from Fountain Vineyard – who also provide us with a space to operate from – and for this we are truly thankful
- Evening Shade - a tiny country church in the heart of America often bless us financially and at the perfect time! Thank you for spreading love and kindess over seas and boards to help others!
Along with a year of many wonderful experiences and partnerships it also has shown many areas for growth and particular needs of continued support. A few challenging moments included the following:
We had one of our very committed and wonderful directors, Natalie Raw, resign and it has been a true loss to our team – yet we wish her all of the best with her new endeavours and know ties will always hold strong with our project!
We also always stand in faith between the ebb and flow of store stock and volunteers on the ground – but we trust that we will always have the right people serving our traders and that the very things they need will be on the shelves!
Continuously we fight the battle of education and awareness and we strive to coach our greater community regarding waste and recycling day on day. Our aim is to do this better in 2020 through small, but hopefully impactful campaigns and resources made available to everyone. We seek to bless the community of Walmer and Walmer Heights with our presence there and welcome any active participation in this regard.
One of our many goals for the New Year is simply this:
We would like to double or triple the amount of traders coming through our doors, while remaining a sustainable project, as we know that our world is full of both hungry people and recyclable material! But we most certainly cannot do this alone.
That being said, we would like to thank all who have aided us this year in our ups and downs, highs and lows! We couldn’t run and manage such an endeavour without each and every one of you.
May your holiday season be joyous and your 2020 be blessed beyond description!
Founder & Director