East London community rallies together to help victims of Knysna fires

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AS THE Knysna fires raged on leaving destruction in its wake, the East London community were busy mobilising, hard at work collecting, sorting and sending relief items to those affected by the fires.

SCHOOL SPIRIT: Hudson Park Primary School managed to fill up a truck and bakkie with relief items for those affected by the Knysna fires. Pictured are Primary school pupils who helped teachers and staff members load all the items. The goods were transported to Knysna on Tuesday afternoon Picture: MADELEINE CHAPUT

Throughout the city, schools, businesses and individuals setting up donation drives and drop-off points received an outpour of support and compassion for this worthy cause as soon as they realised the severity of the wildfires.

Hudson Park Primary School, as well as Honda and Kia Motors were one of the first of many who reached out, appealing to the East London public to donate blankets, non-perishable foods, clothes, baby formula, school stationery and any other items for those affected by the Knysna fires.

Honda and Kia Motors were the first to receive a very generous amount of goods for the victims of the Knysna fires.

“We were hoping to fill at least one truck to send down, but by Sunday afternoon we had sent six loads down to Knysna. The support was and is fantastic. We received goods from all walks of life, from a Grade R school kid to a granny in a retirement home; from a one-man business to a SUPERSPAR,” Honda and Kia Motors manager Ivan van der Linde said.

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Bumper contributions of food, baby clothes, bedding, pet food, toiletries, stationery and more from the Hudson Park Primary community were also transported to Knysna on Tuesday afternoon.

“As usual, our Hudson Park Primary School community have rallied and supported this worthy cause,” Hudson Park Primary School pastoral head and organiser, Morgan Land, said.

From starting collections to offering free transport for the goods to Knysna, over the past week East London rallied up the forces to assist in any way possible.

Among them was Anco Barker who set out to collect items for babies and toddlers. Barker received hundreds of items in support of mothers and babies affected by the fires and with the help of Grens High School and Laerskool Nahoon, collected more than she thought was possible.

“It is absolutely amazing how the East London community can work together in times of need. I had people contacting me from Port Elizabeth, King William’s Town and Grahamstown after they saw my posts on some of the mommy pages on Facebook. It’s absolutely amazing, words cannot explain how this makes me feel,” Barker said.

Grens High School was the first high school to assist Barker and together they managed to fill up two loads to send Knysna from the school community alone.

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“I want to thank the school for helping with the collecting, sorting and transportation of the goods. A big thank you to the rest of the community in East London, thank you for showing us that we can stand together, no matter the colour, the race or the gender.

“I know that the need for medicine and toiletries are still very high. Please don’t stop giving, even if it is only a little parcel once a week, a little goes a long way especially in these times,” Barker said.

The management and staff at Spargs SUPERSPAR were also overwhelmed with the amount of support received by loyal and generous customers.

“It is so amazing how the community of East London has just come together to assist those affected by this tragedy,” Spargs SUPERSPAR public relations officer Mary-Ann Engelbrecht said.

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our valued customers for their continued support in the means of donations of food items, clothing, blankets, etc for all the fire victims of Knysna, Plett and Thornhill,” she said.

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