The Make A Difference Campaign (MAD) has done just that for the 14th year in a row, having gifted hundreds of vouchers and hampers to those in need during Ramadaan.
In partnership with Pick n Pay and various vendors, the campaign handed the last of its goodies to eligible receivers over the weekend. The PnP Kenilworth centre branch was the last of several stops over the past few weeks, with stores strategically selected to reach the largest number of people- including one in Paarl!
PnP Kenilworth Store Manager Walied Adams, who has been with the campaign since its inception, highlighted that the campaign grows every year.
“We started this campaign in Ottery Hyper market many years ago. When we joined the Western Cape region, I jumped on board with Mark Jennings and his team and we’ve been doing it ever since. We started very small where we only did in-studio link ups, now what we’re doing is joining Outside Broadcasts (OB’s). This year we’ve had 11 OB’s and all people needed to do was write a short motivational letter, where they’re from and add a cellphone number. Wednesdays is normally the MAD’s but with the influx of names that we’ve also (introduced) “Hero Days” on Fridays and Saturdays where the suppliers get involved.”
Adams added that the vouchers and hampers are not only for Muslims or PnP customers.
“We don’t look at just Muslim people, we look at any religion, race, whoever shops at PnP- in fact, even if you don’t shop at PnP! At the end of the day, it’s for people in need. We can’t help every single person in the Western Cape, but we will try to help as many people as we can. Hopefully we can go from 11 Ob’s this year to 15 next year!” said Adams.
PnP Regional Manager for Western Cape and MAD campaign co-ordinator Salie Davids highlighted that 2019 came with extra special surprises and thanked the dozens who’ve become part of the initiative.
“As PnP we accommodate with the gift card vouchers and there are about 60 vendors that we could not have done this without. We spent 11 days at various stores with VOC, all operations which are in various formats (have been) included this year. The local store and family Observatory store has also been a (new edition). There’s also the Eid expo we have for people to see what we have on offer ahead of the (special) day.”
Davids pointed to some long-standing partnerships who has been willing to positively contribute.
“With the bread programme with Albany, we’ve been visiting all the masajids on the taraweeg program at nighttime where we could share the Albany experience with the recipients at the mosques. We are also very fortunate that VOC invited us to join up on the Ahlan Wa Sahlan programs at the various ventures. Alghamdulilah, we are extremely fortunate to be able to use this campaign as a vehicle to make a difference during Ramadaan. As PnP, not just throughout this month but we try to make a difference at every opportunity at every store and this MAD campaign has really been warm and overwhelming to say the least,” said Davids.
When asked for figures, the Regional Manager Davids humbly said that the numbers are not important.
“It’s not about the amount of people that we’ve reached but we know in our hearts that we’ve reached as much people as possible and we would like to grow on that every year in Sha Allah.”
Regional Manager of The Beverage Company and one of several partners, Phillip Frenchman, expressed how the campaign affects their business.
“Our involvement in this make a difference has made a huge impact especially to our company as we can see on the sales throughout the entire PnP promotion. We are very privileged to be invited to be on this journey in this period leading up to Eid. As we all know it’s a special occasion for our Muslim communities, especially in the Western Cape. I was told we have +/- a million Muslims who fast during this period and it has definitely impacted sales. But after Ramadaan things get back to normal,” elaborated Frenchman.
Frenchman expressed hope that the campaigns’ reach will increase.
“Salie and Walied were instrumental in this campaign and I can see it’s been a success. It’s really impacted me, if you look at the consumers and special customers who are invited by PnP in all stores… it’s really touched my heart. We also included a local store which they never did before. Next year, we hope to put a budget in that we can do something even better than we did in 2019.”
Smile 94.5fm presenter Sam Roi said he was approached by the brand to become their ambassador five years ago.
“I’m responsible for marketing, employee incentives, things like that. And the music you hear in the background? You can blame me for that!” joked Roi.
The radio host explained that the having worked for PnP since 1996, he understood that their ethos is one that aims to be a benefit to society.
“PnP cares, not just about a particular type or set of people, we care about people. The MAD campaign is just one of those that we are involved with regionally and nationally. When I was approached to join I was honored. It’s very special to be a part of a campaign like this. I’ve always believed that in order to uplift a person, all you need to do is offer them a hand up. And that’s what the MAD campaign does.”
The ambassador described what it was like to witness the handing-over of vouchers.
“You can actually see people who are recipients, when they come to our broadcast you can see whose been nominated. You see in their eyes (almost) a despair. On receiving the voucher we give them there is a glint of positivity; and that’s all it takes because they will pass that on to somebody else. Anybody that has had good done to them, wants to do good for somebody else. We intend to continue and it grows more and more each year. Who knows, ultimately we might get to run this throughout South Africa.”
Roi shared the sentiment of PnP and MAD campaign Marketer, Sharon Gerber, who explained that selecting individuals is challenging.
“We try to help everyone, but sometimes we can’t. We get hundreds (of submissions) and we sit and go through every single letter and try to help the ones that we think and feel are really, really in need of it. It’s a very difficult process. A submission (today) was by a mother who nominated her children for being so patient with her. She’s unemployed and doesn’t have money to buy them sweets and toys, but the children are so understanding. It was very emotional to have helped her,” expressed Gerber.
PnP Customer Services Manager Nuraan Venos, who has been involved alongside Gerber for the past decade, told of two cases that really impacted her.
“It’s different every year, it gets more and more and reach more people. That’s the idea, trying to help everyone we can. We go through so many letters and we remember so many people, but the two that really stood out for me was at the OB we did at Promenade mall. The one lady lost her home in a fire and she had NOTHING, absolutely nothing. And she was young, not even 30 yet. The other was a lady over 50 whose husband left her, threw her out of the house and she’s now living in a squatter camp with her three children.”
Venos emphasized that being part of helping those in need is important to keep one grounded.
“These stories really humble me, it brings me down to earth and brings me level to realize that the rizq we have comes from Allah (swt). We must really say Alghamdulliah for everything we have, because there people that are so unfortunate with the circumstances they’re in but they remain strong.”