Rotary project voted one of winning projects world-wide

2015-09-24 06:00
andlt;President of the Rotary Club of Uitenhage South, Marilyn Klassen, with Rotarians braving the cold to hand out blankets

andlt;President of the Rotary Club of Uitenhage South, Marilyn Klassen, with Rotarians braving the cold to hand out blankets Photos: supplied

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The Rotary Club of Uitenhage South’s Winter Nights 2015 will be remembered for a long time as being “wonderfully special”.

So said President of the Club, Marilyn Klassen who is proud of their being able to provide blankets and warm items to approximately 3 000 people in need.

It all started with the Club receiving over 80 blankets and bags full of warm clothing from the public of Uitenhage.

This proved to be just the start as BASF, an international chemistry company with locations in SA including Port Elizabeth, celebrates its 150th anniversary this year.

As part of their celebrations, the company held a global competition entitled “Connected to Care” whereby staff could submit a charitable proposal.

Chandrika Rathod, Quality Manager of BASF South Africa’s Mobile Emissions Catalysts site in Port Elizabeth, and a member of the Rotary Club of Uitenhage South, submitted the Club’s Winter Nights project for consideration.

The project was voted as one of the 150 winning projects world-wide.

“This resulted in BASF donating 5 000 Euros to the project. Rotary was able to purchase in excess of 700 blankets which were provided to destitute people living in the streets, families living in squatter camps with no electricity and those in need at old-age homes.

“More than 1 500 sets of beanies, gloves and scarfs were handed out to school children while 500 baby-grows and vests were purchased for small children and babies.

“In total, over 3 000 people benefited, from babies to the aged,” said Klassen.

Rathod explained that, “during the coldest months of the year, the temperature in Uitenhage can drop below zero which can be life threatening to homeless people.

“They are exposed to the elements as their shelters are not weather-resistant and we wanted to use the opportunity of the ‘Connected to Care’ contest to provide them with warm clothes and blankets as a basic necessity for protection against the cold weather.”

According to Klassen, the contribution from BASF has made a significant difference to the local community.

“The Rotary Club of Uitenhage South runs this project on an annual basis with donated items from the public, but this only reaches a very small section of the needy community. The donation from BASF has made a life-changing improvement to the circumstances of more than 3 000 destitute people this winter.”

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