The South African National Zakah Fund(SANZAF) plans to feed 4 000 children and senior citizens this winter through the Operation Winter Warmth Campaign.
The campaign runs from April until September with the main months being June, July and August.
It was launched on Saturday April 1 at the three-day annual Boland Festival in Paarl which some 30 000 people attended.
Operation Winter Warmth is one of Sanzaf’s five national projects which has been running for over 43 years.
The campaign focuses on giving to those in need, including 3 000 schoolchildren and 1 000 elderly people in under-resourced areas, and is mainly focused at rural areas.
The campaign also involves an amount of R250 which is pledged by community members.
This amount will fund one child with a winter kit, including a raincoat, beanie, scarf, gloves, and a hot meal.
Case workers in each area identify the schools and elderly in need in the area.
Sakeena Bock, the head of communications, public relations and marketing at Sanzaf, said the fund targeted children who they know will get the maximum benefit.
She said depending on support, they would like to distribute to more areas.
Sanzaf currently has 17 offices including Mitchell’s Plain, Belhar, Bridegtown, Athlone, Atlantis, Elsies River, George, Malmesbury, Manenberg, Mfuleni, Paarl, Retreat, Salt River, Stellenbosch, Vredenburg, Wellington, and Worcester.
Shireen Kamaldien, head of the income department at the Athlone office, said after the campaign Sanzaf also tries to get schools onto a feeding scheme where they supply the schools with food for up to year with meals twice to four times a week.
When asked how they go about getting the winter kits, Ms Kamaldien said: “We approach companies with what we need and the quality we require and they give us a price which is sometimes a discounted price because they know it’s for charity. We then take the best quote,” she said.
Ms Bock said it is important to note that Sanzaf does only give to Muslims, but to people of all faiths. The kit for the elderly includes pyjamas, a pair of long johns, a spencer, a pair of socks, slippers, a jersey and blanket.
Ms Bock said while some people see a raincoat as a basic item, others who are less fortunate see it as a luxury item.
“Last year farm school learners in Paarl were so excited for a box of school shoes. While some learners were putting on their shoes on, one learner said no I want to show my mommy I have new shoes in a box.
“This demonstrates that what is a basic resource for some are priceless for others,” she said.
Another programme Ms Bock highlighted is the youth programme which consists of tuition classes for basic literacy, maths, and life sciences. The classes are held on Saturdays at 12 schools for about 1 100 pupils who struggle with their academics or want to improve their results.
She said she would like to motivate the pupils to keep attending the programme and to stay motivated by their improving results. For more information about Sanzaf and their programmes, call 021 638 5108, email email@example.com or log on to www.sanzaf.org.za