8 Ways You Can Make A Difference During Lockdown
Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa made the decision to extend our lockdown by a further two weeks. While the decision is necessary to ensure that COVID-19 doesn’t spread further than it needs to, it does add more strain to those already struggling. Although we’re all playing our part by staying indoors to flatten the curve of the spread of the new coronavirus, not everyone is lucky to be stuck inside a home with access to basic food and safety.
Before the start of this lockdown period, our government set up the Solidarity Fund. The money collected by the fund is being used to support those whose lives have been affected by the pandemic as well as creating measures to help flatten the curve. During the president’s speech last week, he announced that along with his cabinet, he would be taking a 33% percent pay cut for the next three months.
Instead that money will be used for necessary social and economic measures to see the country through this pandemic. Following his announcement, executives at the country’s top banks and other high ranking officials announced they too would take a pay-cut to help with relief efforts.
While you don’t need to give up a third of your salary, you too can help out. While we’re staying at home, there are many expenses you’re saving on – whether it’s your gym membership, transport costs or your daily cuppa joe, you might find yourself with a little bit extra this month. Use that money wisely and consider donating to one of the below causes.
1. Provide shelter to the homeless.
The Haven Night Shelter was established in 1978 to provide support to adult people living on the street. Some of the services include offering the homeless temporary shelter, rehabilitation opportunities, social welfare services, family reunification services and physical care.
Now more than ever, these services are essential as those living on the street need a safe shelter to avoid contracting COVID-19. Along with keeping their doors open, the shelter is also partnering with the City of Cape Town to provide meals and shelter for the less fortunate at other safe centres. You can help them by donating money or by purchasing non-perishable food items from a grocery store online and have them deliver it to one of the shelters.
2. Offer support to medical staff.
During this time of crisis, humanitarian aid organisation, Gift of the Givers has partnered with Backabuddy and Vula Mobile to support the doctors, nurses and medical staff that work in the ICU’s and high care units across medical facilities in South Africa. The money raised through this campaign will be used to buy the equipment needed to ensure they’re able to do the vital work they do without contracting the coronavirus themselves. Donate here to help these essential workers to carry out their duties.
3. Give those suffering with mental illness a lifeline.
Casey Chambers, the operations director for the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SASAG) told the Daily Maverick that the group has seen an increase in the number of calls since the start of the lockdown. While people are stuck indoors they have limited access to mental health resources. Which is why it’s important that services like SADAG’s 24/7 mental health line continues to operate. The group provides an essential service for those who are anxious and need help. SADAG relies on donations to train its staff members and to ensure their service remains toll-free. Donate to keep the NPO running during this time of crisis.
4. Make sure children stay fed and safe.
The Durban Youth and Childcare Centre provides a safe and therapeutic environment for children who are at risk because of neglect, abuse and orphan-hood. Along with offering care to children who have been abandoned, the centre also runs a programme for kids addicted to substances as well as offering support to those with chronic life threatening illnesses.
As a result of the spread of the new coronavirus and the lockdown period, the centre has additional expenses they had not budgeted for. In addition to keeping the children fed, they also need to be kept occupied and entertained. The centre is accepting online monetary donations to assist them in keeping the children safe during this time.
5. Give food to those less fortunate
FoodForward SA was established in 2009 to curb the spread of hunger in South Africa. The organisation noticed that one third of all food ends up in landfills while 14 million people go hungry. FoodForward SA implemented various programmes to bridge this gap, one of which is to collect quality food from farmers, wholesalers, manufacturers and retailers. This is then stored and distributed to their over 600 partners based throughout the country.
Now during this time of crisis, they’ve stepped up their efforts to ensure those who don’t have access to basic food don’t go hungry. They continue to serve the same organisations, but require more help to make this possible. You can either donate here, or contribute non-perishable goods – find the list of needed goods here.
6. Take care of the elderly
The Neighbourhood Old Age Homes (NOAH homes) were established to give dignity to the elderly poor. The reality is that many seniors are not able to live off the government pension they receive. To help these individuals live a life with purpose, NOAH provides them with a place to stay and takes care of their health. They now offer 730 pensioners the ability to live purposeful and dignified lives. During this time of crisis, our senior citizens are those most vulnerable to ill-effects of the coronavirus. To help them remain safe and healthy, consider donating to NOAH, here.
7. Provide a safe space for victims of abuse
Home is not a safe space for everyone during this lockdown. In the first five days of lockdown over 2300 cases of gender-based violence were registered with the police. Feminist organisation, POWA, provides women who have been abused a safe space and counselling services. Their doors remain open during lockdown. Help abused women get the help they need by donating here.
8. Turn your rewards into a donation
Helping out has never been as easy as a few taps on your phone. Big retailers and organisations are now offering members the opportunity to turn their benefits into donations.
- Dis-Chem Pharmacies has already donated to the solidarity fund and now it’s offering members the same opportunity. Simply convert your benefit points to contribute to the fund. Dis-Chem will match every rand given.
- If you’re part of Discovery Vitality, you can use your weekly rewards to give back. If you’re still smashing your weekly goals and racking up rewards points that you can’t use during this time, consider spending your miles on one of their four campaigns. You can help out with as little as 150 Discovery miles.