South African rugby players have donated food parcels to disadvantaged families who have been hit hard by the adverse effects of Covid-19. The players, from Vodacom Bulls, Cell C Sharks, DHL Stormers and Emirates Lions, in partnership with Cell C and Vodacom, gathered at Loftus Park where they shopped for groceries from Checkers to the value of R330 000.
The parcels included bags of potatoes, onions, rice, tomatoes, bread, cooking oil, sugar, peanut butter and macaroni, among other items. They handed them over to the Lizo Gqoboka Foundation and Ashraful Aid, who distributed them to destitute households.
Ashraful Aid is a humanitarian organisation from Marlboro, which has already donated 10000 food hampers to underprivileged families during the lockdown. On the 27th of September, it received at least 500 food hampers which will go a long way in assisting families hard hit by Covid-19.
The money used for the groceries was raised during the return of Vodacom Super Fan Saturday at Loftus Versfeld, the first live rugby action after six months since the country went into lockdown in March. As part of the fund-raising for charity, the mobile network giants donated R2500 for every point scored during the double-header.
The initiative was started by #RugbyUnites for Vodacom Super Fan Saturday in partnership with the South African Rugby Legends Association. The head of sponsorship at Vodacom, Michelle van Eyden, said the initiative had been part of #RugbyUnites under the sponsorship of Cell C before Vodacom came on board.
“We decided to partner with Cell C because it is a good cause they are doing. Vodacom has always been a big supporter of a brand with a purpose. Because of Vodacom Super Fan Saturday which was held on Saturday, for every point scored, Vodacom donated R2500 and that ended up being R330000,” said Van Eyden.
After realizing that many young people in his community were talented but had little opportunities available to them, Lizo Gqoboka started the Lizo Gqoboka Foundation to empower the youth through sports and education.
“We know that poverty is one of the giants that we are facing and fighting in our country. It is such an amazing thing to see massive companies like Vodacom and the #RugbyUnites legends be involved in alleviating poverty,” said Gqoboka.
Gqoboka added that he was motivated to start the foundation to give hope to the rural folks in KwaBhaca, formerly Mount Frere, in the Eastern Cape, where he grew up. Since its establishment, the organisation has started teams for rugby, netball, women and men’s soccer.
“We give bursaries as well and last year we gave two. One of the ladies was sitting at home for five years and couldn’t study because of finances. She is now doing her second year in project management. The other one dropped out four years ago and now she is doing her second year in media,” he said.