REBUILDING FROM BELOW

#ConnectingKindness: The Angel Networks spreads its wings

By Terri Marks 19 April 2021

Of most concern is that we see growing rates of hunger in impoverished communities. (Photo: thesouthafrican.com/Wikipedia)

In 2020 we received incredibly generous donations which assisted us in helping those in dire need. But as time has gone by, we are not receiving the donations we depended on. As we receive no subsidies from the government we are 100% donor-dependent. We, therefore, decided to hold our very first national campaign and fundraiser – ‘Charidy Drive’ where we would be calling on members to donate what they are able to and where we have secured matchers who will match every donation rand for rand, thereby doubling the donations we receive. The Charidy Drive is on now.

The Angel Network is a voluntary organisation run solely via the power of social media, founded by Glynne Wolman in 2015. It is also a registered non-profit organisation (NPO 181-947) as well as a public benefit organisation, which enables us to issue Section 18A tax-deductible receipts for donations received. We have branches in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, but we offer assistance wherever we can nationwide. 

Our main aim is to create a gateway for giving, which means that we create a platform from which we offer help wherever help is needed. In doing so we make donating accessible, and we then distribute to where the need is. We therefore enable, facilitate and mobilise acts of kindness, which can be in the form of monetary donations, clothing, bedding, cooking utensils, Easter egg collections and Christmas boxes to brighten a child’s life.

The Angel Network is not affiliated to any one charity and offers assistance to various organisations or communities in need, including food relief, assisting fire victims in townships, educational needs, supplying sanitary towels to underprivileged young girls, stationery and uniforms to students.

We support thousands of vulnerable children by working closely with other NPOs and outreach centres. We are committed to investing in children. If children are provided with sufficient food to eat, a safe environment, education and is heard, understood and recognised, they will be uplifted to improve their own lives as well as those of their families.

Our mission is to alleviate poverty and social injustices by working with communities and empowering them to reach their own potential. We provide a portal to offer help wherever help is needed — by giving a hand up instead of a handout.

Then Covid hit 

When Covid hit, we had to shift our focus to ensuring that as many people in vulnerable communities are fed and cared for. The unprecedented pandemic saw unemployment soar and hunger grow to levels that are overwhelming. Our attention turned to setting up soup kitchens and feeding schemes in areas where people were unable to feed themselves, in communities that are destitute and scared.

We have been doing this 24/7 since lockdown in March 2020. 

In the Western Cape, Community Action Networks (CANS) were instantly formed, where more affluent areas partnered with vulnerable communities to begin a massive undertaking to make sandwiches and provide support to these areas in need. We are proud to be supporting many of these CANs in the Cape. 

It was a brilliant initiative that was soon adopted in Johannesburg. It was incredible to see communities coming together and taking on the responsibility to help our fellow human beings who were facing certain starvation. Special relationships have been forged out of a coming together of hearts and souls which makes this country special despite all the hardship we face.

We have been privileged to have met the most incredible and selfless community leaders who have taken it upon themselves to set up kitchens within their communities. 

Angels in the Western Cape

The Angel Network Western Cape has, over the past year, taken multiple kitchens under its wings and has also set up 11 new kitchens in partnership with an amazing organisation called MercyAIDS. For this initiative, we provide all the equipment needed for it to run, as well as funding for food and cooking. Where possible we have also provided PPE for the kitchens and communities.

With diminishing funding and growing need we had to focus on keeping pots full, which had to become our priority, at least for the foreseeable future. As a result, the Angel Network Western Cape wasn’t able to supply PPE for the members of staff working day and night in the kitchens preparing and serving food. We knew that PPE was vital to their safety and went in search of donors to assist us. We approached Masks for Medics for assistance, an NPO in the Western Cape that was working on the frontline and supplying PPE to community-based health care workers and frontline workers. We made a case for including kitchen staff in vulnerable communities as frontline workers, explaining that they were putting themselves in danger daily by serving communities without personal protection. 

We are extremely grateful to Masks For Medics for heeding our call and classifying our staff as frontline workers. They secured a massive donation on our behalf and, as a result, we were able to supply over 400 soup kitchens and feeding schemes (comprising over 1,800 staff) with PPE. This included surgical-grade masks, visors, sanitiser for individual staff members as well as sanitiser pedal stands and 20 litres of sanitiser per kitchen to last over a two-month period. 

The gratitude of the staff was overwhelming. We would now like to try and secure masks for the communities as well so that as many people as possible are protected. 

Hunger is getting worse

Nationally, as the second year of this pandemic dawned it was evident that things were only going to get worse in vulnerable communities. Everyone is feeling the pinch and we are experiencing severe donor fatigue. In 2020 we received incredibly generous donations which assisted us in continuing our work to help those in dire need, but as time has gone by, we are not receiving the donations we hoped for and depend on. As we receive no subsidies from the government we are 100% donor-dependent.

With desperation setting in amongst the destitute, fear that they cannot secure jobs, an income, food for their families, we are even more determined to succeed.

We, therefore, decided to hold our very first national campaign and fundraiser known as “Charidy Drive”, through which we would be calling on network members and supporters to donate what they are able. We have also secured ‘matchers’, who will match every donation rand for rand, thereby doubling the donations we receive. We are very grateful to various donors who have generously agreed to be our matchers. The event will get underway from Sunday 18th April at 10am and will end at 10am on Tuesday 20th at 10am.

Through our #ConnectingKindness campaign we are focusing on upliftment and sustainability. We have realised that sustainability is the key to future food security, and we are therefore making it a main focus of the fundraiser, together with education and hygiene in these vulnerable areas.

  • We aim to build “Angel Villages”, where we will plant vegetable gardens and upskill communities to farm and harvest the vegetables, which will feed communities and provide income-earning opportunities to sell surplus produce. This will uplift communities and help them become self-sufficient.
  • We also aim to install solar-powered geysers, to provide people with hot running water and cleaning of unhygienic pit toilets.
  • We will continue our support for secondary and tertiary education, which is the only way that the endless cycle of poverty will be broken.

The Angel Network is therefore appealing to all who are able to donate, to please do so. No amount is too small, and every rand gets doubled by our matchers. Through your donations we will be able to #ConnectKindness and continue to make a difference where it is needed most.

Our goal is to raise R2,500,000 which will go a long way to help us help those in need. 

You can click on this link to donate, or use Snapscan, EFT or Walletdoc details below. #Togetherwecanmakeadifference by #ConnectingKindness DM/MC

Terri Marks is an attorney by profession. She writes: “After having my first child I decided to follow my passion which was in animal rescue and assisting various charity organizations. I became involved in helping a children’s safe house called The Jones Safe House. I registered and formalised them as an NPO. I was approached by The Angel Network in Johannesburg who had heard about the safe house and wanted to donate towards it. After that, I was asked by Glynne Wolman, founder of the Angel Network, whether I would like to set up a Cape Town Branch of The Angel Network together with women she knew here.

The rest is history. I met the most incredible women “angels” through this unbelievable opportunity to help where help was needed — Dalia Katz, Janene Nates and Melanie Levy. We formed The Angel Network Western Cape and we are the executive committee. With the massive fires at UCT and surroundings, we are immediately on the ground assisting wherever we can.

Gallery

Comments - share your knowledge and experience

Please note you must be a Maverick Insider to comment. Sign up here or sign in if you are already an Insider.

Everybody has an opinion but not everyone has the knowledge and the experience to contribute meaningfully to a discussion. That’s what we want from our members. Help us learn with your expertise and insights on articles that we publish. We encourage different, respectful viewpoints to further our understanding of the world. View our comments policy here.

No Comments, yet

BHEKISISA

Why South Africa stopped making vaccines

By Adèle Sulcas