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A Hard week for South Africa: How to help 

It’s been just over a week since the beginning of the devastating looting in our country where some major infrastructure in KwaZulu Natal and Johannesburg regions were destroyed.

 It’s been a time of much reflection for South Africans and out of this hardship, a lot of encouraging action has been taken from many communities around South Africa showing support.

 We at Meerkat are proudly South African and we can see how the past week may have led many feeling fearful and worried. If you are needing support or are looking for a way to contribute and give back to the community at the moment, below are some links to a few of the known organizations taking action to rally support for those in need right now.

 Please look to the links below and see if there is any way you would be able to help.

  1. Donate with Gift of the Givers

If us South Africans know one thing, it’s that Gift of the Givers know how to mobilise and provide relief in times of crisis- like now. 

The local relief organisation quickly “put its entire machinery into action” this week and here is how you can assist them.

Contributions can be made into Gift of the Givers by EFT monetary donations, details below:

  • Standard Bank, Pietermaritzburg, Account number 052137228, Branch Code 057525, ref KZN Crisis.
  • For tax-deductible, Section 18A certificates please send a deposit slip todonations@giftofthegivers.org. Details, toll-free on 0800 786 911.
  1. Catalyze, Hey Gorgeous and BEX Express encourage Capetonians to donate

Having grown up in Durban, the owner of communications company Catalyze, Rex Bowden could not just stand back and watch Durban suffer. As sadly now many people find themselves without access to basic food and other essential items. “I feel helpless for my family, friends and colleagues in Durban and since hearing the news, I knew I needed to try to help them from Cape Town”. 

As luck would have it, on Thursday Bowden was contacted by the owner of cosmetics company Hey Gorgeous, Phoebe Williams, who also wanted to help by delivering essential items to Durban. The courier and logistics company BEX Express has offered to deliver the items to Durban free of charge to help in this drive. Rex connected with Durban’s Shaun Reid who has been running a food distribution centre during the pandemic, and SA Harvest (a National NPO), who has offered to trace and escort the BEX delivery truck securely to its drop-off points in Durban.

Capetonians can drop off any non-perishable food items, baby formula and nappies, sanitary care items and pet food at one of the collections points between 9am and 4pm.

These drop-off points details below:

  • The Hey Gorgeous stores in Claremont and Willowbridge Malls
  • The Diep River Distribution Centre at Unit E3&4, Prime Park, Mocke Street, Diep River.
  1. Assist with animal food donations for the Umgeni River Bird Park and the Mitchell Park Zoo

The eThekhwini Municipality has urged residents to assist with animal food donations for the Umgeni River Bird Park and the Mitchell Park Zoo.

The City said in a statement that “in light of the current unrest, the City is taking reasonable precautions to ensure that there is sufficient food for the animals at both the Umgeni River Bird Park and the Mitchell Park Zoo”.

The municipality has called on the public to donate perishable food items such as fruits and vegetables to help sustain the animals until supplies are secured again. These donations will be greatly appreciated!

Details for drop of zone:

  • Donations can be dropped off at the gate of the Umgeni River Bird Park at 490 Riverside Road, Umgeni,
  • or the Parks District Office at 10 Ferndale Road, Morningside.

The public can contact the Parks Office on 082 498 4418 for more information.

  1. Send virtual vouchers via the Shoprite Group

Anyone, in South Africa or abroad, can send virtual vouchers to family and friends in need by buying vouchers which are sent directly to their phones, and can be spent on groceries at Shoprite, Checkers and Usave stores nationwide. These will certainly be very useful for those in the badly effected areas.

The virtual vouchers, that can be safely bought in a few easy steps, are sent via SMS to a recipient’s mobile phone within an hour of placing the order. They can be redeemed immediately in stores which is useful for those wanting to assist from afar. In addition to virtual vouchers, customers can send money to recipients without bank accounts at Money Market counters in selected Shoprite, Checkers and Usave stores.

Go to www.computicket.com to buy a voucher. The virtual voucher can only be used in-store by entering the voucher number into the pin pad at check out.

  1. Donate dried food and other staples to be distributed by The Angel Network

The Angel Network together with HopeSA are sending a cargo truck and plane to KwaZulu-Natal. Help them fill up with staple foodstuff like mielie meal, beans, oil, sugar, baby formula and nappies to help those in need in these effected areas. 

Community police forums will be helping to distribute the donations around Isipingo Hills, Pietermaritzburg, Tongaat, Phoenix, Chatsworth and other hard-hit areas. Ensuring that your impact and generous donations will be distributed fairly and properly to those in need.

Contact the following people to find out more info: 

  • Glynne on 083 777 1621 or emailglynne@theangelnetwork.co.za
  • Hayley on 082 829 1626 or emailhayley@theangelnetwork.co.za
  • Justine on 082 871 3227 or emailjustine@theangelnetwork.co.za

If you would rather like to make a cash contribution, visit www.theangelnetwork.co.za/donate

 This is just the tip of the iceberg for support and relief initiatives taking place in South Africa today. Keep a keen eye out on social media platforms to stay informed on what is happening and how you can remain safe and still help make a difference to those affected by this devastation.

 As families always do, as a nation we will recover from this devastation over time. As in a typical Meerkat family, there are always individuals #lookingoutforyou.