Going beyond the call to do 67 minutes of good in Mandela month, the Port Elizabeth branch of Wings Motorcycle Club held its annual Blikkies Run at the Zwartkops Rowing Club on Saturday, and collected more than 1,200 cans of food and 100 other non-perishable food items.
Now in its sixth year, the Blikkies Run saw people from all walks of life turning up to support the nonprofit organisation, People Opposing Poverty in Society (POPS), by attending the activities and donating non-perishable foods.
Wings Motorcycle Club chair Rushdien Lagerdien said the other objective was to entertain underprivileged children from a number of childcare institutions around Nelson Mandela Bay.
Children from Oosterland, Vistarus, Inn Safe Hands, Joshua’s Heart, Lukhanyiso and a home for rape victims were invited for a day of fun and games which included a demonstration by the South African Police Service Dog Unit to educate the children about the dangers of drugs.
This was followed by a demonstration on how dogs are trained to sniff out drugs and explosives.
“We were able to treat and entertain more than 100 children from six child-care facilities in Nelson Mandela Bay.
“It is extremely satisfying to witness the joy on the faces of these little ones,” Lagerdien said.
Although it was wet and cold for most of the day, Lagerdien said that he was happy with the turnout, noting that donations had almost doubled compared to previous years. “We are grateful for the support. We were concerned about the rain, but it did not discourage anyone,” Lagerdien said.
POPS spokesperson Mureedah Botha said the organisation was grateful for the overwhelming support from the Wings MCC and everyone who made a donation.
“All expectations were exceeded with this year’s Blikkies Run, despite the icy cold and rainy weather.
“The canned food takes a huge weight off our shoulders as we prepare food parcels for families in need.
“It also helps towards our second winter distribution drive, which takes place at the end of July,” Botha said.
The POPS Foundation distributes about 60,000 meals a month to impoverished communities across the Bay and is active in Motherwell, Zwide, Swartkops, Aloes, Chatty extension, Bethelsdorp extension, Timothy Valley, Windvogel, Algoa Park, Helenvale, Gelvandale, Greenbushes, Korsten, Schauderville, Salt Lake, KwaNobuhle, Joe Slovo, Wells Estate and Walmer Township.
According to Botha, the organisation supports families, day-care centres, soup kitchens, children’s homes and other child-care institutions.
“This project will assist in bringing relief to the underprivileged families living in informal settlements and other impoverished communities.
“Every blikkie counts and helps feed a hungry person,” Botha said.
Lagerdien said the Zwartkops Rowing Club, where the Blikkies Run has been held annually, had already agreed to host the 2020 event free of charge.
He said though the initiative was established as the bikers’ way of contributing to the spirit of giving during Mandela month, the popularity of the event had seen it return as a regular item on the Wings Motorcycle Club’s calendar.