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Homeless appeal for help during winter

Homeless people in Pretoria and Johannesburg are appealing for donations of blankets and hot meals.

Homeless people in Pretoria and central Johannesburg are appealing for donations of blankets and hot meals to survive the cold.

JOHANNESBURG - As the winter chill continues to bite, homeless people in Pretoria and central Johannesburg are appealing for donations of blankets and hot meals to survive the cold.

A bitter cold front already gripped large parts of Gauteng and the South African Weather Service warned of a chilly winter ahead.

Eyewitness News spoke to homeless people to find out how they've survived.

Video: Cold and homeless

Some people said they've been homeless for more than 10 years.

"The government can provide shelters to the homeless even if they have R20 a day. The rain and winter are harsh and sometimes we get sick. We need people to help us with blankets."

A woman said her children bear the brunt of the cold the most.

"We need resources like educational toys. We need food, blankets and mattresses for the children. We also need teacher training to help us become more competent."

METHODIST CHURCH CALLS FOR HELP

The Methodist Church appealed to all South Africans to consider the plight of the homeless and reach out to help in whatever way possible.

Bishop Paul Verryn's church in central Johannesburg houses hundreds of political refugees and homeless people who've been living on the streets for more than 10 years.

The church also takes care of vulnerable children and people with chronic diseases.

As the winter chill settles in, Verryn said most people who seek shelter from the church are desperate and have nowhere else to go.

"We encourage people to be independent. The issue of homelessness in the inner city is huge."

A man from Pretoria said the living conditions of homeless people are unimaginable.

"The shelter is the filthiest place, because they don't even cement it and people sleep on the ground. There are diseases that people get because they sleep next to each other."

If you would like to donate, please contact the church on 011 337 5938.

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