On an otherwise ordinary Tuesday, a truck rolled into the bustling township streets of Alexandra in Gauteng. Hundreds of kilometres away, a truck also arrived on the dirt roads of Mount Frere in the rural Eastern Cape. And this is where this particular Tuesday stopped being ordinary.
These trucks offloaded hundreds of food parcels to families that have been economically devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The work began with the R330 000 raised at Vodacom Super Fan Saturday to purchase the food parcels, where each point from the two matches was rewarded with a R2 500 donation by Vodacom. It was then carried forward with players from the Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers, Emirates Lions and the South African Rugby Legends Association (SARLA) coming together under #RugbyUnites to pack these parcels. And now it had finally reached its goal.
Ashraful Aid and the Lizo Gqoboka Foundation were the two designated charities for this #RugbyUnites project, and they in turn distributed the food parcels in Alexandra and Mount Frere.
“Tonight, these people will know they at least have food on their tables,” said an overwhelmed Lerato Ndlovu, a social worker and Urban Agriculture Manager in Alexandra.
“We work with people who have lost jobs. We work with child-led households who have lost breadwinners. Some of these families haven’t seen food for days. And with the schools closed during the lockdown, the one meal children would get at school was also gone. So this really touches my heart.”
In Mount Frere, Simthembile Deshe was overjoyed to receive a food parcel for his household.
“We were so hungry. COVID took everything from us. There are nine of us in the house. I lost my job before COVID and haven’t been able to find work. So we are just so grateful for this. We’re crying. People all over here were crying and celebrating as the trucks offloaded the food,” he said.
And Ndlovu had a message for the Vodacom Bulls players in particular.
“When they go down in the scrum, and they make that noise when they meet – they go ‘Ugh’. I want them to say to themselves just before they push the other team, ‘Ugh, ugh, Lerato’. Because Lerato loves you.”