READERS of The Herald opened their hearts to the less privileged as a team from the newspaper went out to perform their “67 minutes” for Mandela Day on Friday.
During just one month of receiving donations to The Herald’s Winter Warmer Campaign, more than 40 bags of blankets, clothes and shoes streamed in for the needy on Mandela Day.
More than 500 destitute people also received meals.
While 15 bags of blankets were give to last year’s The Herald GM Citizen of the Year, Alida Davis, to distribute among the homeless in Uitenhage, the remaining clothes and blankets were donated to the Nelson Mandela Bay Community Chest. Its chief executive officer, Beulah Lumkwana, said: “The Herald brought us a bakkie full of toys, clothes and blankets.
“It was overwhelming as there was hardly enough space to walk around the office once everything was brought in.
“We blessed a number of charities with donations. These included the Rape Crisis Centre in KwaNobuhle where we also had a soup kitchen, Ikamva Early Childhood Development Centre in Walmer, and Uviwe Child and Youth Services in Gelvandale.”
Although every day is Mandela Day for the Community Chest team, Friday provided something special.
“Tata may have gone before us, but his spirit lives on in those citizens who opened their hearts and pockets to reach out to the needy on this day,” Lumkwana said.
While people across the metro were devoting 67 minutes to doing good to others, The Herald team helped Davis feed more than 500 people from her Uitenhage home in Upper Drostdy Street.
“Fourteen staff members volunteered to help Alida with her soup kitchen,” The Herald chief marketing officer Justin Peel said.
“We were humbled by the experience and once again reminded of the great need there is in our communities.”
For Peel, Mandela Day would not have been possible without the help of the people of the Bay.
“We put out a bin for donations at Sunridge Village on the first Saturday of the campaign. On the Monday we were asked to collect as the bin was already full. “We are extremely grateful for our readers’ old-fashioned way of giving,” Peel said.
For breast cancer survivor Davis, 58, having had The Herald team on board made Mandela Day extra special.
“I feed hundreds of kids every day, but the extra hands were very welcome. We handed out soup, bread, cakes, sweets and blankets and the crew members were all so great with the kids.”
Davis said Blue Ribbon also donated 200 loaves of bread to help the soup kitchen.
“And they promised to deliver bread every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. These are just some of the doors that opened while being Citizen of the Year,” she added. – Alvené du Plessis