Tavern owners have shown their soft sides and donated about 12 pairs of school shoes to needy learners at two primary schools in Lower Crossroads on Tuesday. Members of the Philippi-East Liquor Forum donated school shoes to learners at KwaFaku and Vukani Primary Schools.Neo Motinyane, secretary of the forum said this was to show that they understand the needs of the community.“It is so sad for a child to go to school on an empty stomach and barefoot. We are parents and we are members of the community. We are people who are regulated and who are regulating themselves,” Motinyane said.Motinyane also said the government should invest money on teaching at least one teacher from a region to go around schools teaching learners to say no when their parents send them to buy alcohol and also to reject drugs.“There are parents who send their children to buy alcohol. We will never sell alcohol to children. It is so unfortunate that some parents withdraw money for grant and buy alcohol with it. We cannot ask were they got the money when they come to us,” he added.The forum donated six pairs of shoes for boys and five pairs of shoes for girls in each school. Motinyane also said they are planning to help 12 high school learners from the area to get drivers licences to increase their chances of getting employed. Nolufefe Velele, teacher and welfare coordinator at the school, thanked the forum.“It might look little, but to us this is so big. I do not know how I can describe it. It will go a long way in helping us. Our learners are struggling a lot, yet they come to school. We are so grateful,” Velele said.Lefa Mapilo, secretary general for Western Cape Liquor Traders Organisation, said there is too much negative publicity about the alcohol industry.“Our industry is so demonised. Once you say alcohol that is a turn off already to people. It is a legal substance. Western Cape government is clamping down on our business. We have big stores coming in our areas to sell alcohol. About 2000 new applications for licences were rejected in 2015. We are creating job opportunities on the other hand. The donation is little, but it is coming from our hearts,” Mapilo said.