Blue Sky International Distribution, comprising the Beauté Pacifique and RapidLash Africa brands, conceived the #projectbigtable intitiatve to donate food to the Orange Farm informal settlement in Kosmos.
There are 550 households in Orange Farm, representing about 3,000 households. The food donation handover, which was attended by the MEC of Social Development and the Mayor of Madibeng, took place last week and was covered by SABC News.
Blue Sky CEO, Wayne La Grange, told SABC News: “Our beauty brands are found in approximately 700 salons across South Africa, most of whom have been put under a huge strain as a lot of the businesses have had to close down in this period of non-essential services. This has put enormous strain on these businesses. We realised that a lot of their workers had to go home and many won’t be paid while away from work, which means their families become vulnerable.
“As a business we felt that instead of building walls during this challenging time, we wanted to build a bigger table and were able to bring a lot of people together, namely other businesses that felt the same calling that we did. With their amazing support, we’ve been able to source almost eight tonnes of maize and thousands of eggs from farmers in the area. I’m so happy because tonight the Orange Farm residents will have food on the table.”
In an interview with Professional Beauty following the handover, La Grange said that he was deeply grateful to the South African Beauty industry for supporting the project. He continued: “We were so fortunate that we could use the profits from the salons that support our brands to help Orange Farm.
“How everything came together was nothing short of miraculous. I was inspired by this image of a table – and it made us think that we need to help people who are off from work and have no income. The community of Orange Farm is right on our doorstep in the Magaliesberg, where our central office is. Many of these are people are from farms, restaurants, salons and other businesses that are closed and who were sent home with no pay and no ability to care from their families.
“We sent out a WhatsApp message to our local community of Kosmos and our call from the community was heard by the Kosmos Christian Church (KCC), business leaders in the area and the citizens of Hartebeespoort. We all got together to raise funds for food and mobilised our connections to make this happen.”
La Grange noted that all the necessary permits were obtained and that logistical arrangements made. Leaders of the community were consulted within the parameters of the law in this situation, to control the actual execution with COVID-19 social distancing regulations observed.
KCC and BOC (Body of Christ Church) were the logistic and financial partners in the project, while Kosmos citizens and surrounding estates in Kosmos Hartebeesport assisted financially. Gromer Farms supplied over 5,000 eggs; Katy Kruger Bags made custom face masks; and Pexmart Pipes and Fittings arranged transport of the food.
“This was an amazing mixing pot of people with heart who gave and made no excuses – something we treasure so much! If anyone would like to contribute to the next round of the #projectbigtable, please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org,” concludes La Grange. (Report by Joanna Sterkowicz)