Community outreach6th Nov 2020
The residents of Kingswood Golf Estate in George are very aware of how fortunate they are to live on a safe, spacious, green estate with loads of facilities and activities – both on-site and close by. And, as this was made more evident as their movements and activities became constrained due to the coronavirus, it got them thinking about the challenges faced by less well-resourced people.
First priority – food
As lockdown Level 5 hit, Maryna Kimble and other Kingswood residents got together to prepare hot meals for the nearby community of Blanco, where many residents were particularly hard-hit by the lockdown and were – literally – wondering where their next meal would come from. She started off cooking and packaging meals in her own home, but soon moved the operation to Blanco itself, both to facilitate easier delivery and – more importantly – to empower the residents. Most of the cooking is done by residents themselves. Also assisting with the project was Idols winner and George local, Elvis Blue, who donated a few crates of veggies a week.
And more …
The lockdown got many Kingswood residents into their own gardens for the first time, which inspired them to add a vegetable gardening element to their outreach to Blanco. Maryna got together with some friends who have been growing their own veggies for a while to help set up veg gardens in Blanco – focusing on children. Growing vegetables is valuable for children, she said, because ‘they get to see something grow. They take ownership. It’s good therapy for them, and they can reap the rewards after hard work.’ While the gardens are mostly to supply vegetables for the people who tend them, and to sustain them for years to come, any excess can be channelled into the food kitchens.
There are plans afoot to add an educational element as well. Maryna has been chatting to a friend who is involved in teacher training for early childhood development, and they’ve already started setting up designated training centres in George and Mossel Bay. But more about that in the December edition.
Although the outreach programme started through a combination of genuine concern, and possibly a bit of boredom, something extraordinary happened. The fortunate Kingswood residents have come to know many of the Blanco residents personally, and so have grown as people. And these friendships bode well for the continued growth of the initiative.
So while the project, which was born from the constraints of the pandemic, has positively affected many of the Blanco locals, its effect on the Kingswood residents is perhaps even more significant, as nothing forges stronger bonds than working together to achieve something meaningful.
More importantly, it illustrates that community extends beyond the estate walls, thereby creating a means of effectively integrating the estate with people in the greater George district.