City of Joburg gives back on Mandela Day

The UJW erected stalls at shopping centres or mall to collect food donations from shoppers. Image: Facebook

Sleeping bags, cakes and sandwiches were distributed to various disadvantaged communities across the city during Thursday’s commemorative 67 minutes for Mandela initiative.

For the homeless people in the Johannesburg inner city, the Mandela Day is always a day they look forward to. But this year’s was different – they will not feel the winter chill as in other years.

Kingsmead Elementary School pupils and teachers made a total of 250 sleeping bags which they donated to homeless people around the inner city as part of Mandela Day celebrations. The school dedicated their 67 minutes for Mandela to those who do not have a roof over their heads, and often have nothing to eat.

The gesture fulfilled the school’s idea to prioritise those who often do not have access to food or shelter, which forces them to sleep in cold winter on an empty stomach.

The school partnered with non-government and non-profit organisations, Community Hours and Dollar and a Dream to make the initiative a success.

Director of service at the school Jenny Venter said the inspiration for the initiative came from meeting a homeless woman in Cape Town, and was touched by the plight of disadvantaged people who endured cold winters.

This solidified Venter’s decision for the school to adopt the idea. “This is our fourth year on this project and we really see a difference it makes to the homeless people around the inner city. We recycle newspapers and plastics for the best charity we can give,” Venter said.

Dollar & a Dream is responsible for distributing the sleeping bags. The learners were given cups of soup to give to beggars around the inner city on their way home; something that was meant to instill a sense of responsibility, care and being hospitable.

In another event, non-profit organisations Kindness-like-Confetti and Saeed Foundation co-hosted a scrumptious breakfast experience and entertainment session to celebrate Mandela Day with elders at Park Care Old Age Home in Parktown West. More than 320 elders, thrilled to have visitors at the home, were served with delicious breakfast, including cakes and sandwiches.

Kindness Like Confetti hosted a tea party for the residents and staff at Park Care Centre. Image: Facebook

Park Care social work manager Lorraine le Roux was very delighted to host the event.

“To continue the legacy of humanity, we have teamed up to spend 67 minutes of our time with our senior citizens to give them a scrumptious breakfast feeling and some entertainment. Old people spend most of their time indoors, so this is the only entertainment experience we can give occasionally, we are here to entertain them in a special way,” Le Roux said.

At Norwood Mall, more than 7,000 orphans and people from disadvantaged communities in and around Johannesburg received food and baby bags. The event was organised by the Union of Jewish Women (UJW), which adopted more than twelve non-profit organisations in the city to help those in need.

The Union of Jewish Women at Norwood Mall. Image: Facebook

The UJW erected stalls at shopping centres and malls to collect food donations from shoppers, which was then handed over to the NPOs. Thanks to the donations, they were able to make more than 7,000 sandwiches, which they gave to the adopted organisations Children of Fire, Alexandra Aftercare and Feeding Scheme, Hillbrow Soup Kitchen and Project Brave, among others.

UJW Executive Director Cindy Kree said the union’s mandate is to make everyday a giving day.

“We have adopted more than 12 charity organisations which we work with. Today we chose Norwood to give the members of the community an opportunity to come in and be a giving hand. From Friday, the sandwiches and soups will be distributed to different NGOs that we work with,” she said.

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