Reaching out the Red Cross way
It was World Red Cross Day on Friday and the Bay branch of the 100-year old SA Red Cross Society, in conjunction with Ford Motor Company, was out doing what it does best — helping those in need.
The team had spent the morning in the Boxer Shopping Centre in Motherwell teaching people various basic ways to avoid contracting or spreading the coronavirus, Nandipha Linda, personal assistant to the provincial society head Caroline Gallant, said.
In a statement, Ford spokesperson Dudu Nxele, said the Red Cross Society had ramped up its humanitarian efforts and Ford had supported it by providing two Ford Rangers to assist in relief efforts.
Linda said: “We took along a 20-litre drum of water, a basin and soap and were demonstrating to people how to properly wash their hands, which is a very important way to avoid Covid-19.
“Many people think just quickly damping their hands is enough, but as we demonstrated, you have to do it for at least 20 seconds and soap and rub your hands together properly before rinsing them off.”
To date, the Red Cross team has distributed personal protective equipment and conducted Covid-19 screening at 230 households, delivered 780 hygiene kits, served 3,843 hot meals at shelters, town halls and informal settlements, and handed out almost 5,000 food parcels to poor families, residents of old age homes and children’s havens.
“Its commendable work, under extremely challenging conditions, has been supported by Ford Motor Company of Southern Africa, which provided the Port Elizabeth branch of the SA Red Cross Society with two Ford Ranger double-cabs to use from the start of the lockdown through to the end of May,” Nxele said.
Gallant, Linda and the rest of the team also distributed educative flyers on the why and the how of social distancing and wearing masks.
Gallant said they were honoured to be celebrating World Red Cross Day and excited about the substantial donation they had just received from the 1820 Settlers Association, which would help them ramp up their charity work.
“The SA Red Cross Society in the Eastern Cape received a generous cash donation of R100,000 from the Settlers Association.”
She said the work of the Red Cross during the Covid-19 crisis was to provide essential food relief to those in need, conduct education and awareness programmes to mitigate the impact of the virus, and to work with the government on community screening.
“This donation will enable the Red Cross to provide nutritious food parcels to 200 households and hot meals to many hundreds of homeless people in at least three shelters.
“It is through gestures from organisations such as the 1820 Settlers Association that the Red Cross can continue its work during this time,” Linda said.
Ford MD Neale Hill said he applauded each and every health care worker, essential services provider and volunteer and they felt privileged to be supporting the exceptional work of the Port Elizabeth branch of the Red Cross.
“We salute their unwavering dedication and commitment to addressing the most critical needs and supporting the most vulnerable members of our communities,” he said.
Gallant said the team had relied tremendously on the vehicles provided by Ford as they did not have a vehicle in Port Elizabeth.
Established in 1921, the SA Red Cross Society is a member of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the largest volunteer-driven organisation in the world.