Mandela blanket drives bring warmth

NEED BLANKETS: Ward 17 councillor Mcendisi Mbengo calls for local businesses to assist him to collect 100 blankets to donate to elderly people in Mlungisi Picture: SUPPLIED

Jacksons Isuzu Suzuki is set to distribute blankets to the needy people around Komani as Nelson Mandala Month comes to an end.

The blankets were donated by local residents and businesses, with the company also making its own

contribution. Jacksons Isuzu Suzuki dealer principal Patrick Casey said: ”We decided to have a Mandela Month instead of a Mandela Day to try to collect as many blankets as possible.

The blankets were donated by the public and other businesses who felt the need to give something to somebody else.”

The initiative, which was started by Isuzu last year, Casey said was only being adopted in their Komani branch this year but they had ambitions to make it bigger.

However, he said the public took a bit longer to respond than they had hoped, something he suspected may have to do with the effects of the pandemic. But some of the businesses, like Russell and Son, had brought in 15 blankets.

”A blanket is a gift that keeps on giving. You can use it every day or every night even though it is

something we take for granted. A lot of people sleep out in this severe cold weather such as we have seen in the past week. We have had the coldest temperature registered this year, the coldest in more than 15 years.”

Casey added some of their involvement in community initiatives included the blood drive, which the company has conducted four times a year for the past 10 years.

”We also have the Go Green project in which we incorporate between 10 and 12 schools to clean up their areas and we provide them with bins.”

Ward 17 councillor Mncedisi Mbengo is also raising 100 blankets in his ward, which he plans to issue to elderly people. He said he had managed to collect 40 blankets so far, with 60 to go.

”I approached the spaza shop owner in my ward and local businesses in town for assistance. I am still hoping for some of them who have committed to assisting to come forward,” he said.

This is also a way of him encouraging the spaza shops, who are supported by the township community, to get into the habit of ploughing back to the community.

”I have been doing this blanket drive since 2017 for Mandela Month. If this month ends without having reached the target of 100, we will have to wait until it has been met before we can hand the blankets over to the community members.

”The blankets will be given to people older than 70. I know the elderly are eagerly awaiting them, ” said Mbengo.