NGO answers desperate calls for help

The pavement and road in front of the Gift of the Givers office in Penlyn Estate was stacked with food parcels ready for delivery.

Gift of the Givers’ ongoing food roll-out through feeding centres and food delivery accelerated on Friday April 17, as they commence preparations for the distribution of 100 000 food parcels nationwide.

Founder of the organisation, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, said their emergency and counselling toll-free lines have been flooded with requests for food.

“People have virtually one request, ‘where can we get food? We are starving, we are hungry’. The callers are from every corner of the country. The pleading is incessant, they have to feed a hungry child, a baby or someone ill. They don’t have income, won’t be getting paid, are not collecting UIF, and probably don’t have a job to go back to.

“The desperation, the deep sobbing cry, the insurmountable grief, is heart-rendering, and so is the dignified silent acceptance that everyone cannot be assisted – ‘thank you, we understand’. The reality stares you in the eye, you can’t assist everyone, just as in any major disaster. But each person richly endowed or even with moderate means can do something. This is a time to ‘give till it hurts’ for a fellow compatriot caught up in the harsh reality of Covid-19,” Dr Sooliman said.

The distribution of 100 000 food parcels was made possible through the generous contributions of selected corporates and the public. Packing started outside Gift of the Givers offices in Penlyn Estate, and similar processes will start in Johannesburg and Durban.

Apart from the food parcels, Gift of the Givers is also delivering protective wear to 100 hospitals and clinics nationwide, and has set up eight Covid-19 testing sites, and provided tents for triage at various hospitals.

They are awaiting delivery of 10 video laryngoscopes, have ventilators on order, have drilled 400 fully functional boreholes in the past 18 months – providing water for drinking and hygiene, delivering water seven days a week with three water tankers in selected areas and have multiple groups of people sewing material face masks that will be sent with contact-tracing personnel to high-risk areas for free distribution.

The food parcels cost R350 each, and contributions are welcome.

Call Gift of the Givers on their toll-free number on 0800 786 911 or email info@giftofthegivers.org if you can assist.