Covid19 01

With many weeks of lockdown under our belt, our Club members have comparatively little to complain about.

At the other end of the spectrum, however, we find the people in the townships, many of them without income, no gardens and with little or no opportunity to exercise, let alone adhere to the regulations regarding social distancing. But worst of all, no food on the table, relying on the well-meant intentions of the government to hand out food parcels.

For a period of 6 months the furloughed may receive as little as R 4,200 per month and those in the informal sector R 350 per family member!!! These amounts fall pitifully short of covering the daily needs for sustenance, let alone the monthly costs of services such as water and electricity.

Against this backdrop of poverty, hunger and despair it is heartening to see the number of organisations involved in helping alleviate the plight of the poor.

 Covid19 03

Covid19 06We, the Helderberg Sunrise Rotary Club, decided to lend a helping hand, focusing on the areas where most of the 19 schools involved in our Literacy and Numeracy programmes are situated.

An immediate start was made with fundraising, the first line of support being the club members. Now that we only have zoom meetings, a great many members are donating their savings on the weekly Rotary breakfasts to the food support fund. Furthermore, the club has started to receive donations from Rotary Clubs in Europe.

To date the Club is providing food and other basic necessities to 6 organisations, ranging from soup kitchens for school children, shelters for the homeless to township ward councillors dedicated to distributing food parcels to families that are the most needy.

 

Covid19 04

Every week our members fill large trolleys with food at one of the local supermarkets. While weekly deliveries are made to the local Night Shelter, other charities working in the poor communities surrounding Somerset West come and collect the food themselves. Photos are made during hand-out of parcels and feeding the Covid19 05children at the soup kitchens, so that we stay abreast of the work these charities are doing. Early on we chose to support local small businesses rather than the major food chains. This has worked out beautifully and the owner of the Central Mini Mart gives us a nice discount so that we can help more people.

 

With an already staggering 30% unemployment rate in the country and the pandemic expected to peak only in September the numbers of unemployed people will only go up dramatically. Needless to say, South Africans of all walks of life (and Rotarians are no exception) fear what the onset of winter may bring us.

Being a Rotarian means Service Above Self and rarely have we had a situation like this calling for all the support we can give.

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