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Thank a Healthcare Worker, Support a Restaurant — and do it today

702, Uber Eats and Daily Maverick have teamed up with corporate South Africa and listeners of the 702 FM radio station to launch a new campaign: Thank a Healthcare Worker. (Photo: nursingtimes.net/Wikipedia)

Radio 702, Uber Eats and Daily Maverick have teamed up with corporate South Africa and listeners of Radio 702 to launch a new campaign: ‘Thank a Healthcare Worker, Support a Restaurant’. The campaign calls on acts of kindness from anyone with the means to help thank our healthcare workers with a decent meal.

For nearly 18 months, throughout the different phases of the Covid-19 pandemic, health care workers have been at the forefront working tirelessly to ensure people in South Africa receive the medical care they need. 

They have been risking their own lives to save the lives of others. Many have made the ultimate sacrifice. Early this year in February statistics from the National Department of Health confirmed 40,000 South African health workers having contracted Covid-19 and 663 deaths. The numbers have risen since. 

Speaking to Maverick Citizen in a telephonic interview, registered nurse working in Old Bunting clinic in Johannesburg Maria Chirindza said at first she was scared of the deadly Covid-19 virus. But the introduction of vaccines has eased her paranoia and she treats the virus much like fever, which has always been contagious. But shortages in personal protective equipment(PPE) and a lack of government support for nurses still serve as triggers of her stress and anxiety.

Lebogang Nhlapo — healthcare worker at Bertha Gxowa Hospital in Germiston — said he has witnessed the impact of Covid-19 through staff members and friends who have succumbed to the virus and urges everyone to comply with health protocols. “We lost staff members during a hard time and are not able to attend funerals. It’s really sad,” said Nhlapo.

At the same time, small businesses, especially restaurants, have gone through different levels of lockdown restrictions, some facing total closure, others having to reduce holding capacity. Restaurants have had to cope without sit-in diners and alcohol sales bans; as a result, the industry has seen growing dominance of takeaway meals.

On 21 July on 702, the “Thank a Healthcare Worker, Support a Restaurant” campaign was launched. The campaign is a collaborative effort by 702, Daily Maverick and UberEats.

Media partner and assistant project manager Daily Maverick said this is an opportunity to help healthcare workers and restaurants. 

“We care deeply about those healthcare workers on the frontlines and the plight of restaurants who employ so many people. We have an audience that is inclined to help and give, so we were happy to get involved when we were asked” said Styli Charalambous, CEO and co-founder of Daily Maverick

According to John Perlman, host of the daily 702 Drive show, the campaign has been very well received. Within five days, a total of R78,000 of the target of R1,000,000 was raised for the campaign via Backabuddy, a South African crowdfunding platform. 

“The fundraising part will last one month while the campaign team continues to work with hospitals to distribute the vouchers to healthcare workers. Depending on how things go we might run this again but the focus is on getting this done right and helping as many people and restaurants as possible,” said Charalambous.

Perlman said every cent raised from the campaign will be converted to a R300 UberEats voucher, which will be given to healthcare workers from both private and public hospitals.

“The vouchers can then be redeemed whenever the healthcare worker wants to have a meal at work or at home, to send some food to family members they haven’t been able to visit or to come home with treats for children with whom they haven’t spent proper time within ages”.

Describing the partnership, Nakampe Molewa, General Manager of Uber Eats Sub-Saharan Africa says, “In these challenging times, many in South Africa are in need, especially our healthcare workers are worn out and taking emotional strain, and yet each and every day, they carry on the good fight to save our lives. Those who are able to lend a helping hand are encouraged to do so. We are proud to be uniting with 702 and Daily Maverick to provide a way for South Africans to thank a healthcare worker while supporting the restaurant when they need it most.”

Donors have also left thank you messages.

Ronni Bheamadu said: “To all nameless, faceless frontline healthcare workers, thank you for unwavering commitment, dedication and care for all of us. You are one of many true heroes of our country”.

“Supporting healthcare workers and many of our client restauranteurs is the least we can do,” said Christodoulou & Mavirikis Inc Attorneys.

Noting the exacerbated hunger in South Africa the idea is to support health care workers with a decent meal that they can enjoy in the comfort of their homes or place of work and while supporting the restaurant industry with income to survive. 

“In doing this we are saying thanks to doctors and nurses, porters and back-up staff for their extraordinary service while also trying to lend a helping hand to restaurants to survive in these incredibly trying times, ”said Perlman.

702, a commercial FM radio station based in Johannesburg in collaboration with UberEats and Daily Maverick, are appealing to anyone with means to help: “We are asking you to reach deep into your hearts and pockets and help us make a difference”. DM/MC

The Daily Maverick encourages everyone to say a big thank you to health workers and make donations here.

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