Since 2010, the Twitter community in South Africa has been moved by compassion and has engaged the social media platform to collect blankets for some of the country’s most vulnerable people. Over the past 6 years, thousands of blankets have been collected in the weeks leading up to winter to provide some relief and, of course, warmth to those in need.
Nelson Mandela Bay residents can now also take part in the Twitter Blanket Drive with two drop-off points – one in port Elizabeth and one in Uitenhage.
“More than any other social media, Twitter is about local conversations,” says Ramon Thomas, local co-ordinator for the Twitter Blanket Drive in Port Elizabeth, and founder of TEDxPortElizabeth. “The #TBD2016 campaign shows how we can use social media to take action in local communities not just for national issues of a political nature.”
“For us as a Twitter community, social responsibility is a serious business,” says Merentia van der Vent, the national co-ordinator and Cape Town host for the Twitter Blanket Drive (TBD). “As winter’s bite fast approaches, we are aware that charities are under a huge amount of pressure to meet the demand for blankets. In today’s digital world, we have the power to make significant change, in the area of social development, harnessing the power of social media.”
The TBD started 7 years ago, in 2010, as a single tweet by Melanie Minnaar, as she contemplated the cold winter ahead and in true Twitter style, tweeted the following thought: “what if each person on Twitter donated a blanket?”
Since then, the TBD movement has exploded and now has a national footprint with campaign drives taking place in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Pretoria and the West Coast. Previous years it was also held in Bloemfontein, East London, George, Knysna and Mossel Bay and countries like Zimbabwe Namibia. This year the official hashtag is #TBD2016.
Last year, the Instagram community in South Africa, also supported the #TwitterBlanketDrive and collected blankets on their #Instawalks across the country. South Africans are also asked via Facebook to donate blankets.
In today’s fast paced world, using social media to increase community awareness is not only smart, but essential. According to the founder of the campaign, Melanie Minnaar, the Twitter Blanket Drive has injected a true sense of community into the South African Twittersphere, as the number of Twitter users involved with the TBD has grown exponentially since 2010. Tens of thousands of blankets have over the years been donated, to those in need.
Blankets can be dropped off at drop-off zones across the country from 7 April to Thursday 26 May 2016.
Contact Ramon Thomas: 041-9921215 or 081-4399555 or @RamonThomas
The drop-off zones in Port Elizabeth:
- Port Elizabeth: Protea Hotel Marine, Summerstrand, Marine Drive, Port Elizabeth – 041 5832101
- Uitenhage: Wildrapids Spur, Caledon St Queen Mary Crescent, Uitenhage – 041 922 6977
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