SPAR Eastern Cape put the fun back in fundraising with its 20th annual charity golf day on Thursday that saw controversial comedian Conrad Koch eliciting chuckles and three local charities laughing all the way to the bank.
The R105 000 in proceeds from the event, which took place at the Humewood Golf Club in Port Elizabeth, was shared equally between a trio of diverse charitable beneficiaries.
These were the Rape Crisis Centre for survivors of sexual violence in Port Elizabeth, the Zwartkops Conservancy that addresses pollution issues in the Swartkops River estuary and the Carel du Toit Centre for hearing-impaired children in East London.
Speaking at the event, SPAR Eastern Cape marketing manager Abri Swart said as market leaders in the province, it was vitally important for the retail giant to take the lead in giving back to the communities it serves.
“Our role is to identify the different types of needs that exist and to give back to our communities on a continuous basis.”
Accepting her cheque, Nel said the money would be used to teach deaf children to speak with the aid of cochlear implants and powerful hearing aids.
“We use the audio-verbal method and aim to mainstream them so that they can take their place in the hearing world.
“These are profoundly deaf children who long ago would have been isolated completely. We do all our own fundraising, so this is an absolute gift to us.”
Speaking in his turn, Spearpoint said SPAR’s contribution enabled South Africa’s oldest environmental agency to continue with its cleanup of the Swartkops estuary among other issues.
“We also educate 2 000 children per annum on how they can keep the river clean and teach them the benefits of having an estuary that is in pristine condition.”
He said the conservancy was also engaged in the process of having the estuary declared a Ramsar site, which would designate it as a wetland of international importance.
The third beneficiary representative, Kempie van Rooyen, said rape was not merely an isolated act of violence perpetrated by one person against another but had its basis in broader societal problems.
“But our message is not one of despair and disgrace; it is about the hope that humanity can be something different.
“We are very thankful for contributions like this because it allows us to take the bull by the horns and do the work that we do.”
The centre offers psychological counselling, medical and para-legal assistance to survivors of rape and sexual abuse and is involved in education programmes in the community.
On a lighter note, ventriloquist Koch, better known by his puppet alter ego Chester Missing, raised guffaws from the more than 200 assembled guests with his razor-sharp political satire and social commentary.
To find out more about these organisations, go to SPAR EC in Action on Facebook or follow @SPAR_EC.