Crowdfunding has become a powerful and very effective way for South Africans to help families that have been struggling to get by under the lockdown.
Using the BackaBuddy platform, Facebook group #ImStaying was able to crowdfund more than R300,000 in under 24 hours to help hungry and under-resourced families with food vouchers.
Then there is the group of committed cyclists who raised more than R108,000 for non-profit organisation SA Harvest, also through BackaBuddy, by taking part in a virtual race.
With a national lockdown still under way in government’s bid to flatten the curve of the Covid-19 pandemic, many families have no way to earn a living and provide for their families.
#ImStaying asked their more than one million followers what they needed during this time, and about 20,000 responded help with food and other necessities was sorely needed.
“We are facing incredibly testing times as a country,” #ImStaying founder, Jarette Petzer says.
“I put out a call to our members recently asking who was in need of food and to my total dismay, we have thousands responding.”
Petzer says many urgently needed aid for themselves and their families of up to 10 people, and so #ImStaying promptly launched a campaign to raise funds that were then converted into digital food vouchers.
The campaign went live on April 21 and has raised about R300,000 from more than 600 donors in SA and overseas.
With our BackaBuddy campaign we will do our best to help as many people as possible on a first-come, first-serve basisJarette Petzer
The donation drive is still under way and you can support it here:
Meanwhile, on April 24, 105 cyclists began the v360km+ Ultra, a virtual cycling race in support of SA Harvest.
SA Harvest, sister company of renowned food rescue company OzHarvest, “rescues” quality surplus food that would’ve been thrown away and redistributes it for free to organisations feeding food-vulnerable people.
The R108,000 raised will support the delivery of more than 21,000 meals to the hungry and homeless.
Many of the cyclists who took part were meant to ride the annual 36One Mountain Bike Challenge in Oudtshoorn, but that event was postponed due to lockdown.
Not wanting to waste countless hours of training, Benoni cyclists Dion Guy and Aiden Choles decided to organise the v360 Ultra using virtual cycling platform Zwift.
“We also wanted to use the event to raise money for a charity,” Choles says and so a campaign was set up through backabuddy.co.za.
“We encouraged people to pay forward the calories they would burn on this ride towards food and hunger support by donating to SA Harvest,” Choles says.
Zwift tracks calories burnt as pizza slice equivalents at about 285 calories each.
“We asked riders to back themselves by sponsoring R12 for every slice burnt – you’re likely to burn about 12,000 calories, so that’s 42 slices (or R500). Riders could also donate R1.50 per km (about R550).”
Guy says: “If you think riding 360km in the real world sounds tough, it is harder doing it on an indoor trainer” – especially when you know your family is in the next room!
Smart trainers – indoor bicycle trainers that allow cyclists to complete in-game cycling routes were used for the race.
SA Harvest CEO Alan Browde sent regular voice notes to keep the cyclists’ spirits up while chairman Gidon Novick rode his spinning bike in his pyjamas in solidarity with the participants.
In first place was Jaco Davel in 12hr29 min, followed by Dusty Day in 13:20 and Mike Chumbley in 14:11. The first lady “home” was Jenny Close in 14:30.
Guy says: “We want to acknowledge each and every rider who took part and to everyone who contributed to the fundraising campaign.”
SA Harvest has delivered more than 40,000 meals a week during lockdown.