Landfill families stunned by relief aid
Embracing aid workers, a Gauteng grandmother broke down as she was handed food and blankets for her family of seven.
"God is here. Today I saw God," wept Petunia Khumalo as Gift of the Givers workers wrapped her and hundreds of Randfontein landfill site residents in blankets.
The organisation yesterday brought tens of thousands of rands worth of aid, including blankets and food, to the tiny settlement.
The aid arrived after the community's plight was highlighted by The Times this week in an article on child poverty.
Singing songs of praise, residents were left in awe when workers from the organisation told them to spread the word that food was to be delivered.
"Why are you doing this? Why are you being so nice? What must we give you?" asked a bewildered Paul Mtshali.
Mtshali was left shaking his head in disbelief as his arms were piled high with blankets.
"This is for you. It is yours. Make sure your children are warm and come back for food later," said Gift of the Givers' Emily Thomas.
For Ursula Johnson the donations were too much. Staring in disbelief she said she did not know that there were people who cared.
"I thought my children were going to freeze this winter. It has been so cold and I did not know what I was going to do.
"Our prayers have been answered. We can now live without fear of dying alone," she said.
Allauddin Sayed, of Gift of the Givers, said the organisation would provide warm nutritious meals to the community and would install two 10000-litre drums to provide fresh water for drinking, bathing and washing dishes.
"For the children we will be setting up a special day centre with toys and educational material. We will provide mothers of babies with infant food and nappies, and will bring clothes and shoes for everyone," said Sayed.
"We are going to set up a kitchen which, through food donations from businesses, we will get community leaders to use to cook for and feed the residents."
The organisation will also give residents the resources needed to fend for themselves and will ensure that doctors with a mobile clinic will come to the area.
"These people have been like this for too long and we are encouraging people to help us help them.
"All they need is a little bit of love and kindness, which is what we want to give them," he said.