Employees at the Ford Struandale Engine Plant have once again rallied together to provide much-needed support for disadvantaged people in Port Elizabeth. A grocery collection initiative was put into place as part of Ford’s “Go Further” initiative, as well as the “Each One Reach One” community-driven project.
“Employees were requested to donate one item of non-perishable grocery of any kind, but it was heartening to see that they dug deep into their pockets and donated much more,” commented Basil Raman, Production Manager at the Ford Engine Plant and the project champion.
The Engine Plant’s machining and engine assembly departments also started a cash collection to purchase groceries in bulk, and this is being supported by several of Ford’s suppliers. Thus far, groceries to the value of approximately R20 000 have been collected, and employees have pledged to continue this throughout the year.
The first batch of groceries was delivered to “Place of Hope” on 9 August, and was linked to a fun-filled charity event day. This rural farm in Greenbushes, Port Elizabeth, is home to 28 disadvantaged families that have no means of supporting themselves.
According to Raman, all the families in the community expressed their gratitude and even shed tears of joy. “One 65-year-old woman and her husband said that as long as there are people like this and companies like Ford in the world, there is still hope.”
The Place of Hope charity project was started and is co-ordinated by Janine Gardiner, and relies purely on support and donations from local residents and businesses. She is also the driving force behind numerous other community upliftment projects in and around the city under the “Place of Hope Helping Hand Port Elizabeth” banner.
“We extend our sincere gratitude to Ford, its employees and partners for the generous donation to our Place of Hope charity,” Gardiner says. “This is truly a wonderful thing and will directly benefit everyone in this small community.
“Through the donations received from Ford, we have also been able to deliver groceries and supplies to the Bethel Safe House for abandoned children,” Gardiner says.
Ford’s ongoing community involvement will see a further batch of groceries being distributed to poor families in the Schauderville area in Port Elizabeth. “Our challenge is for companies and individuals to take up the Each One Reach One initiative and promote it within their own regions,” Raman says.