Task team out to make a difference during pandemic

The task team managed to assist organisations and individuals in the IY community as well.

A task team that was created to alleviate the pressures people were experiencing during the Covid-19 pandemic continues to grow and offer support to those in need.

Since the Covid-19 Reaction Task Team was formed under the banner of the Rotary Club of Hout Bay in April, it has managed to raise over
R250 000 and gather much needed resources to assist members of the public.

“Like most Rotarians the world over, we felt a burning need to do something, to be useful, to help those who couldn’t help themselves. The only thing holding us back was where to start. The enormity of the need was overwhelming,” said past President of the Rotary club, and current chairwoman of the task team, Joelle Searle.

When the team of five was established on April 12, its core purpose was to “identify focus, secure funds, develop systems and react swiftly”.

The task team started discussing several options around the distribution of aid to those in need, ultimately deciding to buy vouchers which were sent directly to the beneficiary’s cellphone which allowed them to decide what they needed most.

“Being aware of the need for good governance and accountability for funds expended, we created a database spreadsheet which records all assistance given, clearly setting out name, cell number, size of family and applicants’ affiliation to RCHB. Recipients were advised that without this information, we could not assist,” Ms Searle said.

“Applicants likewise needed to confirm that they had first exhausted all other avenues of assistance as we were there as a safety net to help as many of those as possible who had no other source of food.”

When the idea was presented to the task team, they already had a list of 28 families, comprising 114 people in total, who were in need of assistance.

And members secured sponsorship of more than R200 000 within 24 hours, and a further R100 000 within the next two to three weeks, Ms Searle told Sentinel News.

They started out by working on the assumption that R500 could feed a family of four for about two weeks. To date, the team has fed 277 people in more than 50 families every two weeks, and by the end of August, had supplied around 30 500 meals, supplied 300 KN95 masks to the Main Road Clinic, 1 332 masks to beneficiaries and their families, several litres of sanitiser, and 12 no-touch thermometers to 10 to community structures, and spent over R240 000 on resources.

When they spotted a general appeal from the Western Cape Firefighters Association recently, they decided to come to the aid of the Hout Bay Fire Station, where they donated 64 washable cloth masks, two five-litre bottles of sanitiser, a no-touch digital thermometer and 50 disposable masks for their trauma unit (“Helping hands”, Sentinel News, August 28).

“Our task team agreed that we could offer whatever assistance we could to our hard working local Hout Bay firefighters. We hope our small gesture will help keep them safe and reflects our appreciation for what they do in our community,” Ms Searle added.