Local residents and businesses rally together to help Knysna fire victims

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KING William’s Town’s Mike Webb was among the many individuals who collected relief items for those affected by the Knysna fires that ravaged the town over the last week.

BIG EFFORT: Items donated by the King William’s Town community for those affected by the Knysna fires were collected by Buffalo Toyota in Eales Street Picture: SUPPLIED

The King community joined in the massive relief effort currently under way, with donations from around Buffalo City and all over South Africa.

“As always, the King and surrounding community have been fantastic in their response to a plea for help [for those affected by the Knysna wildfires],” Webb said.

Webb primarily focused on collecting items for the people affected by the fires, from bedding and clothing to non-perishable foods, and the King William’s Town community have managed to collect bakkie loads of goods.

By Wednesday afternoon, two loads of relief items had been transported to the DHL depot in East London for delivery to Knysna.

Webb also did not forget about the many animals affected by the fires.

“Once we heard of the amount of animals affected, we strongly encouraged donations of pet food as well,” Webb said.

“People and businesses from all over have dug deep and donated and we are thankful to each and every one of them for their assistance no matter how small or big the donation. A big thank you to Buffalo Toyota for allowing me to make the trip to Knysna and covering all the costs. I am astounded and very proud of my little town.”

Throughout Buffalo City Metro, schools, businesses and individuals setting up donation drives and drop-off points have received an outpouring of donations.

Hudson Park Primary School and Honda and Kia Motors were some of the first of many which reached out, appealing to the East London public to donate blankets, non-perishable foods, clothes, baby formula, school stationery and other items.

Honda and Kia Motors received a huge amount of donated goods and are still in the process of transporting truck loads of items to Knysna.

“We were hoping to fill at least one truck to send down, but by Sunday afternoon we had sent six loads down to Knysna,” Honda and Kia Motors manager Ivan van der Linde said.

Bumper contributions of food, baby clothes, bedding, pet food, toiletries, stationery and more from the Hudson Park Primary community were also transported to Knysna on Tuesday afternoon.

From starting collections to offering free transport for the goods to Knysna, over the past week East London and King William’s Town residents and businesses rallied up the forces to assist in any way possible.

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Among them was Anco Barker, who set out to collect items for babies and toddlers.

Barker received hundreds of items in support of mothers and babies affected by the fires and with the help of Grens High School and Nahoon Laerskool, collected more than she thought possible.

“I had people contacting me from Port Elizabeth, King William’s Town and Grahamstown after they saw my posts on some of the mommy pages on Facebook. It’s absolutely amazing, words cannot explain how this makes me feel,” Barker said.

Grens High was the first school to assist Barker and together, managed to fill up two loads to send to Knysna from the school community alone.

“I want to thank the school for helping with the collecting, sorting and transportation of the goods.

“A big thank you to the rest of the community in East London, thank you for showing us that we can stand together, no matter the colour, the race or the gender.

“I know that the need for medicine and toiletries are still very high. Please don’t stop giving, even if it is only a little parcel once a week A little goes a long way, especially in these times,” Barker said.

The management and staff at Spargs SUPERSPAR were also overwhelmed with the support received from generous customers.

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