As the world experiences lockdown due to the coronavirus, the reality of the poverty stricken who barely make ends meet and now have even the smallest of jobs prohibited, and the unemployed who rely on help to survive is a bleak one. Being this poor is a struggle to survive even a global pandemic. So it’s heartening to hear that even under these difficult circumstances, charities, PBO networks, NPOs, small online businesses, and individuals are doing their utmost to help the most vulnerable in our society. This also gives you as an individual the opportunity to help and make a contribution, by donating money, or dropping off groceries, or giving essential workers a place to stay (following lockdown guidelines of course).
The Angel Network, which is a completely voluntary organization has helped over 15 000 orphaned and vulnerable children to be fed, clothed and educated across South Africa for the last 4 years. Tirelessly dedicated and unstoppable in her mission to help, head of the organisation, Glynne Wolman, tells us about the Network.
“We have been able to help people receive prosthetic limbs, a glass eye and motorized wheelchairs as well as sophisticated eye gaze systems and hearing aids for severely cerebral palsy children. We have donated 3 000 pairs of brand new school shoes to two township schools on Mandela day, paid for students education both at a high school and university level and given dozens of people a roof over their head. We have found and provided employment for countless individuals and provided laptops, computers and furniture to many schools in need. In addition we assist over 50 outreach centres, safe havens and orphanages with their needs as and when needed. Every winter we distribute thousands of blankets and fleece tops to our beneficiaries and every Christmas, we donate over 1 000 goodie gifts to marginalised children. We also run a bi-annual stationery drive as well as do quarterly hospital visits to kids in state hospitals, where we spend time with them and hand out games and sweets.”
Now she says their organisation is needed more than ever. Facing challenges of how to operate safely, Wolman says they’ve had to adapt their usual methods to get desperately needed donations to their recipients and to hospitals.
Just in the past week, the network has donated 140 litres of sanitizer, 3 500 masks, 500 pairs of gloves and an enormous amount of food, to both the elderly and children who are really battling during this crisis, says Wolman. “We are raising funds to be able to supply desperately needed masks and gloves to hospitals as well as to provide food to children who were reliant on receiving their only meal from school daily. Working in partnership with SA Harvest, a food rescue organization, we are requesting non-perishable food items as well as enclosed loaves of bread and spreads for these children. We have appealed to the public to organize collections of food in their area/road/enclosure or complex and then get in touch with SA Harvest for collection.
The Spar in Norwood, Joburg, is now a collection point, and we encourage others to make their supermarket a collection point too.”
The network is now working on three appeals:
– Masks/gloves – collecting funding to supply 95 masks and gloves to hospital staff as well as three-ply masks to residents of informal settlements and townships
– Food/sandwich drive – in conjunction with SA Harvest, we are collecting both funding and non-perishable foodstuffs to feed hundreds of thousands of starving people. Before the pandemic,
25 000 children relied monthly on sandwiches from the network which SA Harvest delivered.
– An emergency fund to continue assisting our current beneficiaries who are not earning during this period and have no idea how to pay their rent or feed their children. Some of them have desperately ill or terminally ill children, and need very expensive formulae, nappies and medicines.
For any collections, call Alan Browde of SA Harvest, which has refrigerated trucks, on 082 651-1313 to get a time and day that they can collect weekly.
The Angel Network
6272 6312 391
Ref – masks OR food OR emergency fund
Nosh Food Rescue
Another legendary and indefatigable woman Hannake Van Linge heads up Nosh Food Rescue, which redistributes unsold and unused food to those in need. A warrior against food waste, Van Linge and her volunteers have risen to the challenge of continuing their work, ever moving to expand their networks.
“There are going to be many more people who are going to be without basic foodstuffs and amenities in the coming weeks, we decided to expand our activities rather than slow them down! Now is the time for people to band together and support, in whatever way they can, the efforts of those who are operating at the bleeding edge of Hunger Relief and we’re trying hard to do our bit. On a more practical note we’re looking at hygiene and sanitation as they pertain to our activities and we’ve prepared our teams as much as possible to operate within the rules governing lockdown as laid down by the president. We’ve also had to mothball our international volunteer programme and we’re looking at how to safely work with local people who would still like to help. Sadly not all of what we do has been able to go digital!”
She says they have ‘doubled the number of teams collecting surplus food from stores and almost tripled the number of beneficiary organisations’.
As many of their usual income generating projects have not be able to continue during the lockdown as they were largely social, and also involved overseas volunteers, Van Linge says they are humbly asking for donations.
Expanding assistance is also limited by their current resources. So they are looking for more volunteers and the covering of their operating expenses, such as petrol costs. They are also asking restaurants, or supermarkets who have any surplus food to contact her. For example they have received a large amount of frozen chicken, and also mushrooms from a farmer who has a large supply as restaurants are not ordering at the moment.
Groups in Hartbeespoort, Lydenberg and Ballito are joining in collecting food. Restaurants in Norwood and Midrand have offered to cook produce collected by Nosh.
Van Linge has also asked if any restaurants or shops in the area who are having to get rid of food or produce, to let Nosh know and they will repurpose it for the hungry. Beneficiary organisations who would like to become part of collection teams or just receive food are welcome to contact Nosh via e-mail, where they will try to do their best to redistribute it.
Focusing on networks of a different kind are Ubuntu Beds and Community Stay.
Ubuntubeds hopes to house frontline healthcare workers in hostels, hotels, B&Bs and guesthouses which are empty due to the lockdown and, are able to offer hospitality in the spirit of Ubuntu. In this way, healthcare workers can find a room closer to their place of service, and reducing the risk of infection by not having to travel long distances on public transport, and reduce the risk of their families getting the virus.
Ubuntu Beds states that their own hospitality staff ‘will stay onsite, undergo COVID-19 specific training and be issued protective gear for their safety’.
For more information go to www.ubuntubeds.org, for the forms healthcare workers and hospitality businesses can fill in and which includes an FAQ on important questions such as protecting staff, how to treat laundry, common spaces and health and safety.
Community Stay matches up various forms of accommodation to any essential workers. Their aim is to provide people with accommodation that is close either for them to walk to work, or have private transport pick them up. Community Stay says ‘this will ensure their risk of exposure is minimized through being housed in a controlled, supportive environment, with less chance of exposure, less time travelling and feeling less anxious. Employers will also benefit from having their workers stay in a safe environment, and be able to reliably and easily get in to work’.