Tsogo Sun volunteers embrace Mandela Day

Tsogo Sun
Tsogo Sun

Tsogo Sun’s Citizenship programme – the many causes the group supports throughout the year as well as the time and effort that employees contribute towards volunteering to assist the underprivileged in their local areas countrywide – is in for a major boost on 17 July when thousands of Tsogo people will give their 67 minutes and more in honour of Mandela Day.

Tsogo Sun Citizenship programme consists of three divisions – Community Development, Entrepreneur Development, and Environmental Education – each of which is aligned to positively impact society by leveraging Tsogo Sun’s resources, experience and location to support initiatives that will improve the social, economic and environmental conditions where the group has presence.

Tsogo Sun Group CSI Manager Shanda Paine says, “The impact of our collective compassion is seldom more evident than during Mandela Day, when we open our hearts and join hands with the rest of South Africa in service aimed at creating a better world. Last year we supported more than 80 different causes around the country through the volunteering efforts of our employees.”

Mandela Day will see Tsogo volunteers throughout South Africa engaging in a wide range of activities including feeding and entertaining crèche children, painting and maintaining an orphanage, cleaning up rivers, feeding the homeless, hosting caregivers from old-age homes, throwing a children’s party, distributing sleeping bags to the homeless, painting and cleaning animal shelters, donating to and painting at an SAPS Victim Support Centre, and many more.

One of the biggest Mandela Day initiatives for Tsogo Sun is the Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa (SHN SA) Million Meal Challenge, through Sandton Convention Centre’s venue sponsorship, at which 200 Tsogo Sun staff from Tsogo Sun head office, the SCC, Palazzo, Montecasino, Silverstar Casino, Garden Court Morningside, Garden Court Sandton City and Sandton Sun will help to pack one million meals for children.

The SHN SA Million Meal Challenge is a massive three-city (Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban) volunteer meal packaging drive, which entails celebrities as well as thousands of corporate volunteers attempting to pack one million meals in four 67-minute shifts. This will be the largest number of meals packaged on a single day by SHN SA. These meals will enable the non-profit organisation to feed 5 000 children healthy nutritious meals for one year. In 67 minutes, each volunteer will pack enough to feed 20 children three meals a week for a year. SHN SA mobilises volunteers to help eradicate hunger on an ongoing basis by providing prepared meal packs to 12 048 young children at 226 unregistered early childhood development centres, where there is no formal funding mechanism providing nutritional support to these children.

Sandton Convention Centre is joining with SHN SA on Mandela Day for the third consecutive year by providing a venue for the packing marathon in Johannesburg. Says Mati Nyazema, Executive Director of SCC, “We are all inspired by the focus Madiba had on South Africa’s vulnerable people – especially children – and we are committed to Tsogo Sun’s far-reaching and sustainability-centred social investment strategic framework, which aims to improve the wellbeing of South Africa’s disadvantaged people. With this in mind, we regard it as a great privilege to be able to contribute to such a worthwhile undertaking of providing meals that will go a long way to bettering the nutritional intake and the lives of thousands of children.”

Graça Machel, patron of SHN SA, says her patronage of the organisation is in support of initiatives in southern Africa that ensure that children especially do not suffer from chronic hunger and malnutrition. She adds, “Further, their model of partnering with other NGOs and donors to find a holistic solution to hunger and education is sustainable and to be applauded. Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa plays a pivotal role in ensuring that children obtain an education while being hunger free. The Mandela Day meal packaging event also gives recognition to the efforts of my late husband and the first democratically-elected President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. There can be no greater joy than acknowledging that each year, our efforts with Stop Hunger Now continue to nurture and feed hungry children while ensuring their education.”

Stop Hunger Now SA’s vision is a southern Africa without hunger. “To achieve this vision, we need a vast amount of support,” says CEO of Stop Hunger Now, Saira Khan. “We have been overwhelmed by the commitment to our cause by organisations, companies, and South Africans from all walks of life. This year will be our biggest meal packing challenge yet and we know that with the excellent venues, together with the goodwill, the hard work, and the desire to leave a living legacy in recognition of Nelson Mandela by the volunteers, we will achieve our goal and positively impact the lives – and even the futures – of thousands of needy children.”