Caring Karin works to help change lives every single day

First 2024 Local Hero nominee donates every type of goods to needy communities

Karin De Bruin Exford from Buffalo Flats collects and delivers donated items across the metro to people in need.
Karin De Bruin Exford from Buffalo Flats collects and delivers donated items across the metro to people in need.

The home of Karin de Bruin Exford is a one-stop-drop-shop for donations across the board — clothing, furniture, food, school shoes and stationery, all passed on to families in need.

“I collect everything and anything, clothing, furniture, food parcels, I don’t say no to any donations,” Exford said.

“I was just telling a family member how by the grace of God, I gave out two bags of clothing and the next time there are five that come in.”

The first Local Hero nominee for 2024, Exford spoke to the Dispatch on her 54th birthday and was deeply humbled by her nomination. 

“I’m very surprised because I’m not one for media, I don’t want anything back, I just do it out of goodness and to make someone feel like they are a part of society, that they are loved and cared for.

“I didn’t even dream about this, it came as such a surprise.”

Since 2020, Exford has made weekly and sometimes daily donations of whatever she finds to families and children in Buffalo Flats, Pefferville, Milner, Ghost Town, Vergenoeg, Egoli and East Bank. 

Everything is stored in a small shed at her home. 

“My main goal is to see to the needy. Mostly reaching out to young children in families with substance abuse issues.

“All kids want is love and support. A lot of the time if people are caught up in substance abuse they neglect their children.” 

Every year, she organises a school shoe drive and donates 100 pairs of shoes in January to a school in Pefferville. 

“My aim this year is to help grade 7 girls from less fortunate backgrounds with dresses for their farewell.

“I’m passionate when it comes to children, people normally overlook kids, they go through so many pressures in life.

“You don’t have to give a lot, even something small. You must see the smiles on their faces if it’s a bit worn or torn,  there is a sense of ‘wow I got this’ and that drives me to do it every day.” 

Exford is also a volunteer at charity organisation Feed a Family East London, where she helps to feed more than 200 children every week. 

“Seeing children without shoes or jerseys — some kids can’t even afford a slice of bread.” 

A receptionist at a doctors office, she often uses her own funds for her charitable work. 

“I dont have any sponsors, its out of our own pocket.”

Local Hero winner for 2022, Simone Klaasen, nominated Exford for her dedication to her community. 

“Karin will go into the worst areas to help or bring what is needed.

“She is working to help change lives every single day.

“She inspires me because nothing is too much for her.

“Doing this kind of work is emotional and seeing the trauma is so sad, Karin takes it all in her stride.”

This year, as the awards celebrates its 10th anniversary, Klaasen said the most important aspect of being a Local Hero was to be kind. 

“Kindness is the most beautiful aspect to have and to give to others.

“When you show kindness to others, you have the ability to change lives, and generations, and to heal trauma,” she said.

“No one asks for trauma, and it’s our duty to spread love and kindness.”


  • Nominations for 2024 may be submitted by emailing a 500-word motivation to must include the nominee’s name, cellphone number and email address




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