Gift of the Givers volunteers packing meals in Pinelands Old Mutual building. The food will be delivered door to door at the various hotels housing UCT students. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)
Gift of the Givers volunteers packing meals in Pinelands Old Mutual building. The food will be delivered door to door at the various hotels housing UCT students. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Gift of the Givers spend R1m a day to assist UCT students, firefighters

By Rudolph Nkgadima Time of article published Apr 20, 2021

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CAPE TOWN: For the next six to seven days, non-profit organisation Gift of the Givers will continue its efforts to assist University of Cape Town (UCT) students with three meals a day, toiletries and counselling.

The organisation provides about 12 000 meals daily to the 4 000 or so UCT students who were evacuated from their residences as a fire swept through parts of Table Mountain and the university. The fire started on Sunday morning.

Gift of the Givers volunteers packing meals in the Pinelands Old Mutual building. The food will be distributed to about 4 000 UCT students who are being housed in various hotels since they were forced to evacuate campus when a fire broke out on Sunday. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency (ANA)

Dr Imitiaz Sooliman, the founder of the organisation, said Gift of the Givers would also be providing meals to the 200 or so firefighters who have been battling the fire since the weekend.

“We gave a commitment to the university that will be here for six to seven days but we can probably extend that if necessary. It has been a logistical challenge to move through all the 29 different hotels the students are placed in, but we have received remarkable support from the people of Cape Town,” he said.

With almost 30 years of responding to the needs of countless people affected by a wide range of natural and man-made disasters, Sooliman also made a plea to the public and businesses to assist with donations of food, toiletries and money.

Corporations such as Vodacom, Old Mutual, Shoprite, The Foschini Group, Nestlé, Engen and vida e caffè had also come on board in assisting the students.

Gift of the Givers, Shoprite support UCT students affected by Cape Town fire. Picture: Supplied

“A minimum of R1 million a day is spent towards providing meals for students and supporting the firefighters,” Sooliman said.

The Shoprite Group has also started serving warm meals to UCT students who were affected and displaced by the fire.

Through its mobile soup kitchen, Shoprite said it had started serving students who were housed at the Mupine College in Pinelands, and it would continue to serve meals at more locations providing temporary accommodation for UCT students for as long as necessary.

Meanwhile, UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said: “No classes, tutorials, laboratory work or tests took place on Monday or Tuesday. We will assess the situation and provide further updates before midday on Tuesday.

“The safety of students and staff is paramount. For safety reasons, campus will be locked down and no one, other than emergency services, will be allowed access. We are all anxious about the extent of the damage to the Rondebosch campus. We will provide updates as soon as we are able to do so.”

Monetary donations to Gift of the Givers can be made here. Or you can do an EFT to this Standard Bank account:

Branch code – 057525

Account number – 052137228

Ref: UCT Fire

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