6000 volunteers gather for Mandela Day

Tiffany Pedro from Bothasig and Shannon Barends from Kuils River colour a poster for the children.

Food relief organisation Ladles of Love set a world record for the highest number of volunteers offering 67 minutes of their time on Mandela Day, last Tuesday, July 18.

A total of 6003 volunteers spent their 67 minutes at events held in Cape Town at the V&A Waterfront’s Look Out and Oranjezicht City Farm Market; Old Ed’s Club in Johannesburg and Hermanus Waterfront to help create, put together, package and dispatch over 150 000 items for over 4 000 children in 75 early childhood development (ECD) centres.

Carla Theunissen from Plattekloof and Curshwin Williams from Somerset West help label “love jars” filled with pulses.

Sponsored materials and products were used to set up the volunteer activation stations where sandwiches were made, edible gardens created, educational toys crafted, jars of hope with dry foods filled, colouring books collated and hampers packed with items required by children in each centre.

Ronelle Abrahams and Ayesha Arend, both from Grassy Park, help label the “love jars”.

And while they did not meet their target of 6700 volunteers, Ladles of Love founder Danny Diliberto said this Mandela Day, they had the biggest pool of volunteers to date.

The record was still set nationally, and was officiated by Director of Ubuntu World Records, Theresa Parsraman at the Cape Town event.

Jenee’ Rodinis from Pinelands, Bronwen Bantock from Newlands and Jana Van Zyl from Paarl knit wooly items for the children.

Mr Diliberto said the focus this year was on helping children through their network of ECD centres. “We need to give our children hope and a stronger foundation to build a better life.”

Sisanda Ngaleka from Khayelitsha says these events help her feed her community.

Sisanda Ngaleka runs a soup kitchen in Khayelitsha, cooking for around 150 people – mostly children – a day from her home.

She said last year, as a beneficiary, the soup kitchen received many canned foods that helped her significantly.

“This year, there are a variety of items, especially for the children. It makes me excited, and I am grateful.”

Andiswa Ncamiso from Joe Slovo says these events create awareness for the plight of the children in their communities. She runs an early childhood development centre in Khayelitsha.

Andiswa Ncamiso, who is from Joe Slovo, is an organiser at an ECD centre in Khayelitsha, which takes care of 64 children, most of whose mothers cannot afford to pay school fees due to unemployment or social issues.

She said events like these not only help with items for the children, but also create awareness about the plight of children in impoverished communities. “Ladles of Love needs these events to help our children.”

Mandela Day is marked annually on July 18, the birthday of late former president, Nelson Mandela.

Ladles of Love volunteer Murray Clampett helps bind colouring books.
Carl Pilkington, Luisa Werheit, 11, and Emily Joselowitz,12 , from the German International School in Tamboerskloof also volunteered their time and helped make colouring books.
Jaya Reuther, 16, Katja Hellmann, 15, and Emilie Fenster 16, from the German International School in Tamboerskloof, also helped with colouring books.
Athlone-based food relief NGO Serving Hands representatives are at the back, from left, Adam Muller from Milnerton with Insaaf Manuel and Fayrooz Cassiem, both from Belgravia Estate, and Joy Petersen from Athlone. In front are Nazeema Ceosyn from Grassy Park, Gwen Petersen and Gaynore Africa from Athlone and Marilyn Dias from Belgravia Estate.
Eloise and Michael Baker from Tamboerskloof help make sandwiches.
Asipe Mbizeni from the V&A waterfront and Togeda Adams from Ladles of Love help pack pulses for the “love jars”.
Arianne Catsburg from Hout Bay paints some toy blocks.
Nizaam Fischer from Montclair in Mitchell’s Plain,Tammy Job – Kirstenhoff and Olivia Deyzel from Welgelegen sew little dolls.
Zandile Dalasile from Montclair in Mitchell’s Plain, Ziyanda Pere from Nyanga, Malesedi Lebenya from Kraaifontein and Jessica Van Rensburg from Rondebosch made little beanbags.
From left are Ebrahim Seale from Athlone, Nontando Saki from Milnerton, Alexander Maart from Retreat, Jenna Jacobs from Kraaifontein, Roekeiyiyah Davids from Tafelsig in Mitchell’s Plain, Laa’iqah Manuel from Athlone and David Ogundeko from the city centre.