Nelson Mandela Bay organisations step in to help the vulnerable
Various organisations are working hard to meet the needs of vulnerable communities during the Covid-19 lockdown.
A team from the SA Red Cross Eastern Cape drove to Thornhill and Longmore, between Nelson Mandela Bay and Jeffreys Bay, this week to deliver much-needed supplies to people in the area.
The organisation’s provincial manager, Caroline Gallant, said yesterday that the residents had been overjoyed.
“They said they felt like they had been forgotten so they were very happy and grateful when we arrived,” she said.
Using two bakkies donated by Ford, the Red Cross team ferried in buckets and soap donated by Shoprite and maize meal donated by Aliwal North-based Pioneer Foods.
“We went door-to-door and distributed a total of 280 washbasins, 384 bars of soap and 280 12.5kg packets of mealie meal to 280 households,” Gallant said.
With more than eight people in some homes, the maize meal would not last long and there was an urgent need for more food parcels, she said.
“So we are calling on anyone who can donate something to please contact us at our office at 18 Bain Street in Central or call me on 083-626-6507.”
Gallant said Red Cross staff and volunteers helping with the project had been specially trained on how to avoid getting infected by Covid-19.
The Longmore and Thornhill outreach was part of a broader project to distribute a total of 35 metric tons of mealie meal to 2,500 rural households around Mthatha, East London, Makhanda and Nelson Mandela Bay, she said.
Members of Port Elizabeth northern areas community outreach programme Concerned Citizens PE Metro have, for days, been delivering to some of the metro’s poorest.
Yesterday, they pounded the streets of Missionvale handing out food to grateful residents, who said if they did not die from Covid-19, they would die from starvation during the lockdown.
Amanda Njamela said they had practically run out of food on March 7.
“We have five children. My youngest child is six months old and we’ve run out of formula,” she said.
“My eldest is 13 and he has tuberculosis.
“He hasn’t taken his medication for two weeks because he gets stomach pains as we don’t have food.
Concerned Citizens chair Farouk Jephta said theirs was a civil society group which had worked with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality disaster management team, even before the lockdown.
“We collaborated with our partners, Alfiaa, Desai’s Bakery and Jadeed’s Bread.
“We started feeding people on Monday — to date we’ve fed 5,600 people.
“We covered Helenvale, Barcelona, Salt Lake, Windvogel, Windvogel informal settlements, Schauderville and Missionvale today.”
Jephta said the group hoped to feed impoverished people across the metro.
“We started donating [two weeks ago] at the Jarman Hall, which is used as a temporary shelter [for the homeless].
“We have donated clothes, helped get people their medication and helped to feed them,” Jephta said.
Around the metro, church groups, politician and ordinary citizens have also been doing their part.