May 2013: With warming soup and chilling milkshakes on offer there was something for everyone who joined the last-minute rush over the weekend to deliver blankets to Protea Hotel Fire & Ice! in Cape Town and Melrose Arch for the annual Twitter Blanket Drive.
The hotels together collected approximately 3 300 blankets that will warm many lives over the next few cold months, which in the case of the Western Cape will be wet as well, adding to the misery of those in need.
#TBD started just over three years ago with a single tweet posted by Melanie Minnaar (@melanieminnaar). When she called on the South African Twitter community to donate blankets to those in need in winter in 2010 she was hoping to get no more than 20 people together for a “Tweet-up” (Twitter meet-up) where they would hand blankets over to a charity together.
Within two weeks the idea had gone viral and over 700 blankets were raised to be distributed to charities. In 2011 the number leapt to 2 700 blankets and it snowballed in 2012. While many local residents delivered blankets to the hotels, GUESTS also contributed by purchasing blankets on site for just R50.
Group Marketing Manager for the Protea Hospitality Group, Nicholas Barenblatt says the response was fantastic among residents, GUESTS and the hotel STAFF themselves, who put in many extra hours to make the TBD a huge success.
“Our hotels form part of the fabric of their communities and giving back to them is a fundamental part of our daily lives. “The Twitter Blanket Drive is very special, though, in that we can make such a large difference to so many people in what is a relatively short space of time. At least a dozen charities and NGOs will benefit from this initiative and it’s been our privilege to work with them.”
Among the recipient charities this year are Foundation Backbone in the Western Cape, The House (for abused youth), Little Saints of Bethany which cares for abused women and children, and the Banakekelani Orphanage.