THE response to an appeal to support local beggar, Rusty Dewinnaar, has been life changing for the cancer sufferer who is described as a kind, gentle man.
Berea Mail published an article on Rusty in July detailing his plight and calling on the community to contribute to a crowdfunding initiative set up by concerned resident Tarryn Coetzee.
Speaking to Berea Mail on Monday, a grateful Rusty said he hadn’t felt as good spiritually, emotionally, or mentally in so long and thanked the community for its assistance.
“I thank them from the bottom of my heart. They have made such a difference to my life. Since the article, people have stopped to talk to me, saying they hadn’t realised what my story was and apologised for never having stopped before. People wave at me and stop to talk. I give them advice and it works, as my life is plain and simple, I don’t have to worry about paying bonds and so on. I have accepted my life, have made peace and am ready for my palace!” said Rusty.
Tarryn said she first saw Rusty a year ago when he used to sit in Problem Mkhize Road, and looking into his eyes, she said she could see he was a sweet man.
“I can’t afford to just give to people I see begging on the road, but Rusty was a different story. He disappeared for a while and then I saw him in Argyle Road. I knew of crowd funding and decided to do some research. I told him I would try get something set up for him. I shared a post of Facebook and it just exploded and with the assistance of the article in Berea Mail, people contacted me to see how they could help,” she said.
From the response, money was raised to get Rusty a decent place to stay in Winder Street.
“The landlord had seen the article in the paper and said Rusty could move in without paying a deposit, so the article made a huge difference. A woman by the name of Tatum Ridgeway contacted me to say she had seen Rusty many times and wanted to donate a bed and fridge. People are inherently good and want to help. I want to make a public acknowledgment to thank the community for its support,” she said.
The change in Rusty has been remarkable, and Tarryn reports that his demeanour had livened up and he has more ‘oomph’ for life.
“Rusty has always had a beautiful smile but I can see the change in that smile, the life in his face. He deserves it. Everyone deserves a sense of dignity and acknowledgment, and the community has shown such love and compassion, not only financially but through goodwill, by stopping to chat or just say hello to Rusty,” she said.
Tarryn has set up another crowd funding link for anyone wanting to continue supporting Rusty.
This link expires in 10 days, so alternatively, people can contact Tarryn directly to donate. Contact 079 868 9694 (WhatsApp is best) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.