There was much hype at Ottery Hypermarket on Friday as VOC bid farewell to its annual Make A Difference (MAD) campaign. It was the grand finale to four weeks of heartfelt letters and emotional surprises on air, for the string of beneficiaries who formed part of the project this year.
For pensioner Kulsum Lakay, life has not been a bed of roses, she struggles as a single mother to put food on the table. She was overjoyed with the voucher she received. Despite her shortcomings she found it commonplace to assist those less fortunate.
“That’s my passion… that’s my aim to help those who are in need. As an individual I was widowed and I struggled. I went around begging, but people are not always eager to assist you. They often chase you away,” says Lakay.
She finds that there is nothing worse than a hungry child. She insists that her attempt to help the poor is due to her experience as a mother.
“I as a mother of five children was struggling. I want to see the children happy at night with food in their stomachs. If they wake up in the morning they can’t go to school without an empty stomach,” says Lakay.
One recipient of a food parcel, Saleigha Abrahams was overwhelmed with emotion. She is a pensioner rearing four offspring.
“I don’t know why I was nominated. I appreciate this because I am a pensioner looking after four little ones. And I think I need the stuff,” says Abrahams.
In its ninth year, the community project is hosted by VOC and Pick ‘n Pay. It entails beneficiaries writing into the radio station and Pick ‘n Pay outlets stating their needs and circumstances. If found eligible, they are rewarded a gift voucher of R250 to R1000 or a food parcel.
“It is our social responsibility. The founding philosophy by Pick ‘n Pay’s Mr Ackerman is that doing good in the community is good for business,” says manager Walied Adams.
Marketing manager Mark Jennings concurred: “It is incredible how we can come together in such a way to make a difference in the needy’s lives.”
The campaign was not exclusive to Muslim people but about feeding as many people as possible. Many of the recipients are ‘do gooders’ they assist in bettering the community.
“This is not about generating sales but about doing the right thing and helping the community in need. Sales will look after themselves. If you can get the right relationship and energy with the community and one of trust, then sales will look after themselves,” says Jennings.
While this year’s MAD campaign was an incredible success, it will always be remembered as a sad time due to the loss of one of its founders, VOC sales consultant, Thabiet Slamang. VOC (Nailah Cornelissen)