THE Plessislaer Community Policing Forum (CPF) together with the South African Police Service and Greater Edendale Mall came together to donate food and toys to the needy community members of the Greater Edendale area. The donations were presented at an event held at the Thuthuka Hall in Esigodini last Friday where about 150 grannies received groceries and 75 children were presented with toys.The major sponsors included Issa Cash Loans, Zone 14 and Shoprite. There were also individual donations.The initiative was started by the CPF with this being the second time they have hosted the event. Last year beneficiaries included 56 grannies and 30 children from Ward 32. Beneficiaries are all chosen by the CPF and ward councillors.This year, the event was also used to raise awareness of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children Campaign. CPF Chairperson Sfiso Mavundla said this initiative was their way of bringing children and old people together. In speaking about why they started the initiative last year, he said they wanted to help the suffering community members that they serve.“We usually go around and visit community members and, during our visits, we noticed that there are lot of people who are in financial turmoil in our communities. Others are relying on government grants for a living and you have to ask yourself: ‘How do they enjoy their Christmas if this is the only money they get?’ “That is why we decided to start this initiative and invite other stakeholders to come on board.“We also do not want their grandchildren to go out and steal because they want to have a Christmas just like other people,” he said. Greater Edendale Mall General Manager Sonya Caldecott said most of the families that benefited come from a very poor background. She said, as a mall, they came together and asked their tenants to donate food and anything else that they could.“It is so heart warming to see children happy and smiling because you have done something for them“You will find that most of the children have never unwrapped a present before. They do not know the celebration of Christmas. They do not understand the whole concept of giving at a specific time of the year, such as Christmas, but today they got a chance to receive a gift and they will unwrap a gift for the first time in their lives,” she said.Issa Cash Loans Director Sabelo Viilakazi said what touched him about this initiative is that he grew up in that same area and so he knows what it feels like to have nothing.“I come from a background of poverty. It was very important for me to donate to this initiative because it gives us an opportunity to put smiles on the faces of children and grannies.“We are making a difference and giving back to the community. It is also our way of saying thank you to the communities who have been supporting us all this time, because we are here today because of them. “We would also like to thank Muzi Sibiya, who also contributed to our donation towards this initiative.” he said.