CHENOA Brenkman hopes to collect enough plush toys for 1 000 orphans and underprivileged children throughout the Durban area.
The 17-year-old St Benedict School learner’s idea for the charity drive started when she took part in the enke six-day intensive leadership course in Johannesburg.
The course covered a variety of team building activities, from building relationships with others and inspirational speaking seminars to setting goals and working with others and ways to find themselves.
“To complete the course each person needed to host a community action project and through this, I started the Cuddle Angels project,” said Chenoa. “I chose to collect plush toys for children. Throughout my whole life I collected teddy bears and I refused to give them away. I remember feeling, even to this day, how much safer I felt when I had a teddy bear with me when I slept.”
She launched the project soon after the course and created a Facebook page and posted the first donation, which was from herself. To raise the 300 plush toys currently in bags at her home, she approached friends and family and started a drive at her school, while others donated money. “I then went to the Highway Hospice and purchased teddy bears from there, giving back to charity in another way,” said Chenoa. She also approached Pinetown Baptist Church to help support her project.
“I aimed for 1 000 as it is a goal that I thought was attainable. There are just so many orphans in South Africa, and the Malvern Children’s Home currently looks after 125 children. Just being able to give a teddy to one child and make them smile and feel safe, is a reward.”
“I’ve received so much from my grandparents and parents and every opportunity that opens up for me, they have encouraged me to take it. I want to be able to give back as well,” said Chenoa.
She will host a collection day at the Fourways SPAR on Saturday, 26 November and is in need of new, used or handmade plush toys or shoppers can also purchase a raffle ticket for R10 each. They money raised in the raffle will be used to purchase extra plush toys.
Once this charity drive is compete, she will continue with Cuddle Angels next year and hopes to distribute Easter eggs to orphanages. Contact Chenoa via the Facebook page, Cuddle Angels, and she will arrange for a collection to be done. “Thanks to my family, friends, the staff at enke, APP Designs, XtremeLens 360, Fourways SPAR, my school and the Pinetown Baptist Church for all of the support they have given me for this project,” she said.