Even though the purpose of the national lockdown is to distance people from each other socially it will long be remembered for bringing communities together, albeit on WhatsApp groups.Within a few hours of president Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Monday 23 March of the pending lockdown, the CAN network began to take shape. Since then about 70 suburbs have organised themselves into WhatsApp community groups aimed at assisting the vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.Catriona Towriss, a co-admin of the Wynberg CAN group, says the initiative has been vital in meeting the needs of communities. “The government’s response has been slow and the CANs have been mobilised to meet unmet needs. The CANs enable us to be more connected to one another in a time of physical isolation,” says Towriss. Bonnytoun, an informal settlement in Wynberg located behind the recycling drop-off facility, is one such community that has been in dire straits since the lockdown began. The residents, about 350 to 400 adults and children, were struggling to get food and necessities, as well as hand sanitiser, masks and gloves. Towriss says the Wynberg CAN became aware of the need in Bonnytoun at the end of March through the group’s contact with Theresa Oaks. She and her husband, Nathan, does regular outreach work in the Bonnytoun community. The CAN group decided to launch a fundraising campaign aimed at raising R30 000 for its first outreach over the Easter weekend. “Quicket turned out to be the most affordable platform for raising funds and they offered us non-profit organisation (NPO) rates. Plus they are a local organisation with excellent customer service,” she explains.Within a few hours of posting the request for support on the Wynberg CAN group, more than R8 000 had been raised. By Wednesday 8 April, they had reached their target of R30 000 – enough to feed the Bonnytoun community for a week. On Friday 10 April, the Wynberg CAN, in collaboration with Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch, bought the goods and sorted it into 100 packs. The next day, Wynberg CAN, Wynberg East Neighbourhood Watch, together with local security organisation Eden Safety and Security, and the Oaks couple distributed the parcels in the community.According to Towriss, the gratitude received from the community was overwhelming. “A big thank you to all of the donors, for their acts of kindness. Without them, this would never have been possible.”But Towriss says the campaign is not over.“One week of food is not enough, especially with the extended lockdown. Bonnytoun still needs us. We want to keep it up so the community feels reassured and secure that they will be able to feed their families every week.”She says they want to do a weekly distribution to Bonnytoun for the duration of the lockdown. “We will need the full and ongoing support of the Wynberg community to make this happen.”To donate, go to https://www.quicket.co.za/events/103010-wynberg-fundraiser/#/.