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Pick n Pay honours farmers for the gift of water

| Social Responsibility

The ongoing drought in the Western Cape continues to not only impact on the residents of Cape Town and surrounds, but also has a severe impact on businesses, including agricultural activity, in the province.

Under the threat of an imminent Day Zero for the City of Cape Town, in February 2018, the farmers from Grabouw and Elgin announced that through The Groenland Water Users Association (GWUA) they would facilitate the transfer of almost ten billion litres of water from their storage dam to the Western Cape Water Supply System. A gift which pushed back Day Zero by more than 20 days, benefitting residents and businesses in Cape Town.

Pick n Pay reached out to the farmers to ask how they could honour and thank the Grabouw / Elgin Valley community for this precious gift to the City.

Elgin Valley farmer Celecia Hiemstra assisted Pick n Pay in identifying four beneficiaries in the area: Huis Silwerjare Old Age Home, NPO Siphila Sonke, Maxonia Primary School and Grabouw Animal Welfare Society. 

Given the size of the donation, the decision was taken amongst the beneficiaries to share the donation with an additional 14 welfare projects1 supported by Child Welfare SA Grabouw, who also provides social work services to Huis Silwerjare.

Furniture valued at more than R100 000 and 1 000 parcels consisting of food with staples such as cooking oil, sugar and rice and cleaning products were donated to the community and distributed amongst the welfare and community beneficiaries. 

In addition to the donation of food, stationery, sanitizer wipes and furniture, Maxonia Primary School has also been registered as a Pick n Pay School Club school and will now receive free curriculum-aligned teaching material. Paint was also donated to repaint the whole school and its roof.

Financial support was given to the Grabouw Animal Welfare Society towards their sterilisation efforts to curb the ever-increasing problem of an over-growing population of unwanted and suffering animals. 

Speaking at the donation handover, Stuart Maxwell, Chairman: Groenland Water User Association, said many people use the words ‘donated the water’, but stressed that the water belongs to South Africa. “We have the facilities to hold that water and prevent it from flowing into the sea. Our facilities around that water are what Groenland used to negotiate a better situation for everybody.” 

Maxwell said that between November 2017 and October 2018, the Elgin Valley will put between 35-40 billion litres into the Cape Town water system, equivalent to 80 days of water for the city.

He expressed thanks for the donation to the community saying that Grabouw has expanded out of all proportion with the population doubling over the last 5 years. “There is such a great necessity for help amongst all these people,” said Maxwell.

Fergusson Oppelt, General Manager: Child Welfare SA Grabouw, said that this is the first time they’ve received such a generous donation. Also speaking on behalf of the organisation, Stanley Shuma, thanked Groenland Water User Association. “Out of what Groenland did, it activated other role players to give to those that don’t have.”

“You have also, through this action, encouraged social cohesion amongst the organisations in the Grabouw area,” said Shuma. 

Brenda Silberhauer from Siphila Sonke, said they hand out on average 60 food parcels per month to desperately poor and chronically ill families in the area. “Our food parcels cost on average R300 per packet. We have no stipend from the Government and run on donations and fundraising.” Of the Pick n Pay food parcels donated, 200 were allocated to Siphila Sonke, together with 20 cleaning parcels.

Andre Nel, General Manager Sustainability at Pick n Pay, said that the donation was a small way for the company to honour what the community in Grabouw has done for the people and businesses in Cape Town. “We feel it is important to give recognition for what the farmers have done to help push out Day Zero in Cape Town."

“It is clear when you visit the community and meet the farmers, NGOs and government departments supporting the community, just how caring the people in the community are. We feel honoured to have been able to contribute to their spirit of generosity.”

Nel concludes, “As we celebrate World Water Day on 22 March, we are reminded that we need to continue placing a strong and dedicated focus on the importance of water and our need to reduce wastage and usage of precious water resources.”

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