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People with passion make positive impact
Marieta Stander from Helpende Hand Despatch initially identified the need in the community and initiated Project Virus. Photo:SUPPLIED

THREE service clubs from Uitenhage and Despatch have joined hands over the past three months in providing much needed relief to residents impacted by the national lockdown prompted by the proliferation of Covid-19.

Owing to business grinding to a halt, several families in these towns were left without a source of income and a resulting crisis in obtaining food and other necessities.

Raynard McLaren, president of the Uitenhage Lions Club said, “Although we might belong to different organisations with different traditions and methods, we are all passionate about the well-being of the Uitenhage and Despatch communities. People with passion can have a positive impact on their world. The way in which this project has made a difference to people who had thought they would not survive and had no hope, shows the power of positive action.”

The need was initially identified by Marieta Stander, a member of Helpende Hand Despatch, who approached the local service clubs to assist. And that was the start of “Project Virus” an initiative of Helpende Hand Despatch, The Rotary Club of Uitenhage and the Uitenhage Lions Club.

“I was at wits’ end. I did not know how it would be possible to help all our people in dire need,” said Marieta Stander from Helpende Hand Despatch.

“The Rotarians’ and Lions’ response for assistance was phenomenal. As from day one we were working together like a well-oiled machine. Thanks to this we thus far have been able to make a huge difference in our communities.”

The focus of Project Virus is to provide relief to families who would not find themselves having to rely on assistance during normal times.

According to Marlene Basson, regional organiser for Helpende Hand in the Eastern Cape, the organisation received a substantial number of requests for assistance from middle-class families who are experiencing serious shortages owing to the lockdown.

“The fact that we could partner with other organisations means that a lot more families and institutions could be assisted. Helpende Hand cannot express enough gratitude for the hope that we could provide together,” said Basson.

During this period a total of 118 families from the Uitenhage and Despatch area received daily and weekly assistance in the form of food, toiletries and even pre-paid electricity. Families assisted range in size from two to eight members.

“Members of the public and local businesses contributed donations of food or money. The largest of was R5 000 cash and 60kg kudu mince donated by a local game farm owner,” said Raynard McLaren, president of the Uitenhage Lions Club. “To date an amount in excess of R20 000 has been spent and approximately 1.5 tons of food has been distributed.”

Mia Smit, president of the Rotary Club of Uitenhage, said “The project fitted perfectly with the Rotarian motto of ‘Service above Self’. It is perfect proof that a huge impact can be achieved when organisations and people work together. It bodes well for future co-operation between the different organisations in the area. Together we will achieve greater heights.”

McLaren emphasized that the Uitenhage Lions had nothing but praise for the commitment and dedication shown by Marieta Stander and the members of fellow service clubs.

Lions Club roadhouse on Fridays

In raising funds to keep supporting those in need in Uitenhage and Despatch, a Uitenhage Lions Club Roadhouse will be held on Friday, June 26 and Friday, July 3 from 16:30 to 20:00 at the parking area off Cannon Street at the back of Wuthering Heights.

The menu includes burgers and hot dogs, chips, curry & rice (R25) and lasagne & salad (R25). Order at the parking area via Whatsapp 078 332 8353 or SMS 078 332 8353.

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