Unable to work as usual because of lockdown, the CEO of a Cape Town NPO that renovates children’s homes decided to launch a campaign to try and feed approximately 75 people in 15 needy families for two weeks.
When I spoke to Lynn Haefele of Newkidz today she said that thanks to an overwhelmingly generous response to her appeal for cash donations towards food parcels, by yesterday they had provided 750 people in 150 families in the Scottsdene/Wallacedene with parcels that would feed them for a week and tomorrow they will be distributing equivalent parcels to 200 families in Mamre in Atlantis.
She said she initially sent a WhatsApp message to her immediate network, requesting donations towards feeding 15 families that Newkidz has worked with, who are in dire need. In the message she lists the non-perishable foodstuffs to be included in each parcel which she costed at R100 per pack.
“It would be amazing if we could give them enough food to cover them for the next 2 weeks, i.e. 2 packs per family. If we can collect 30 food packs it would be a huge blessing,” she says in the message.
To her surprise her request spread beyond her immediate network and when she checked the bank balance yesterday morning she found they had collected R32 000. They had also received several thousand rands worth of food that was delivered to her house.
“We have way exceeded what we originally set out to do. I feel it is a privilege for me to serve the people in this time of need. So I am really grateful to do it.
” But I have been feeling very overwhelmed by the response. Because once I received the money I had to produce the goods. I had to go shopping. It is just two of us ladies. And both of us are also trying to homeschool. I am really humbled by everyone’s generosity. People that I least expected have been giving generously,” said Haefele.
Asked about the physical challenge of making up and distributing so many food parcels, she chuckled: “My arms are sore from picking up 3kg bags of mealiepap.”
She said she and her project partner, Dalene Hill, found they could manage to make up 100 parcels a day. That many parcels also filled up the back of her bakkie which they used for distribution. She said if the project grows any further they will need to partner with somebody or recruit a few volunteers to help pack food parcels. But she believes they have reached their peak as it looks like the inflow of money is slowing down.
She said that for safety reasons they won’t be returning to the Scottsdene area because of interference from gangsters who want to dictate where and to who they hand out food. Yesterday they were confronted by a man armed with a knife. He left when he noticed police in the area.
Haefele said before the lockdown Newkidz has been working with early childhood development centres (ECDs) in Mamre, which is a poor neighbourhood about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, that is not getting much help in this difficult time. This, plus the fact that other charitable groups are active in the Scottsdene area, persuaded them to go to Mamre tomorrow.
They have secured a trailer for tomorrow’s trip to enable them to distribute 200 food parcels during their visit. For safety reasons they have arranged to hand out the food at the ECDs.