As the nation readies itself for the 21-day lockdown to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, we must all do our part to ensure the lives and livelihoods of everyone around us, including the most vulnerable parts of our population.
Johannesburg, South Africa (26 March 2020) – At midnight this Thursday, 26 March 2020, South Africa will go into lockdown for 21 days to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Essentially, this means that everyone in the country will be asked to stay home, only leaving if they require medical attention or to access basic supplies and services.
This also means that many organisations that regularly does community outreach will have to adjust their activities during this time.
Here are four ways you can do your part during the shutdown, and into the future, to continue helping vulnerable animals, children and others.
Feed a family
Due to the lockdown, many families will see their income reduced or may not earn an income at all because they will not be allowed to leave their homes.
Organisations and institutions such as Operation Hunger, Ladles of Love, Cans with Purpose, MES, Ikamva Labantu, FoodForward SA and Nation Changers already distribute food and emergency kits to families in impoverished communities. By donating food items or cash, you can support these groups and help increase the numbers they can reach during the lockdown. Donate goods or cash to Nation Changers here and help them provide 20 000 CityHill Care Kits to orphanages, the Philikade Hospital and individual families.
Each emergency kit includes four meal packs comprising dry foods with added vitamin enrichment, disinfectant, toilet paper, soap and mealie meal. You can also donate food or money to FoodForward SA, which aims to prioritise servicing nursing homes, orphans, vulnerable children and people with health and immune deficiencies. Ikamva Labantu’s senior clubs and Kwakhanya model preschool has been closed since 17 March, but the organisation is continuing to provide food security to 1 000 older adults and vulnerable children daily.
To ensure there is no disruption to these groups’ food supply services, and that they practice social distancing within the townships in which they live, Ikamva Labantu will be providing food parcels and disinfection packs beforehand. Donate here.
Online social platform forgood.co.za, which connects people to causes around the country, is encouraging South Africans to spend their lockdown making a difference through virtual volunteering.
From designing a home workout routine for kids, to helping a substance abuse prevention programme with financial management, virtual volunteering is a way for South Africans to create impact, without leaving their homes.
“We’re living through a particularly trying time in history, but it’s also a time where we are likely to see the best side of humanity. We need to stay behind doors to beat this, but we also want to help those in need. Virtual volunteering offers an easy way to create social impact while remaining indoors and safe – you don’t even have to get out of your pyjamas,” says Andy Hadfield, CEO of forgood.
Virtual or remote volunteering involves volunteering from where you are, taking on important digital tasks like social media support, marketing, writing, training, design, data capturing, providing legal advice and more. The forgood platform acts as a central point, connecting the skills and talents of individuals and businesses with non-profit, social impact organisations in need of those specific skills.
Foster a pet
Always wanted a furry friend but never had the time? Or perhaps you have some extra room in your house and a bored puppy in need of a friend?
TEARS Animal Rescue, one of South Africa’s largest not-for-profit animal welfare organisations, currently provides shelter and care for more than 100 dogs. The organisation will evacuate their kennels for the lockdown and are appealing to citizens in Cape Town to foster a dog over the 21 days.
If you would like to support your local SPCA, you can find once close to you by searching the NSPCA website. The National Council of SPCAs work on a national level and can assist you in connecting with local projects.
Fund the healthcare network
While the number of COVID-19 cases remains below the 1 000 mark, the government is implementing the lockdown to help contain further spread of the virus. To increase capacity at medical facilities should the need arise, the Gift of the Givers Foundation has partnered with crowdfunding platform Backabuddy to set up a fundraising campaign.
Gift of the Givers has already set aside R5 million from its emergency reserves to purchase ventilators, intubation equipment and general medical supplies. The foundation will also make available it’s emergency medical equipment and ambulances to support South Africa’s public health services if needed.
The funds will be utilised to upgrade existing medical facilities should the country’s current interventions prove effective in arresting the spread of COVID-19. To support the country’s healthcare network, you can donate to the fund here.
Swipe to support
You can also give back without leaving your home or during your shopping run for essentials. MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet is South Africa’s largest community loyalty programme that supports schools, charities and environmental organisations.
The programme allows supporters to select beneficiaries and make a contribution by shopping at one of their partner stores, including Loot.co.za, Woolworths and WorkSheet Cloud.
A donation will be made on your behalf to your chosen beneficiaries – at no cost to you. For a full list of partners and beneficiaries or to sign up for a MySchool MyVillage MyPlanet card, visit myschool.co.za or download the app.