Within hours of hearing about the devastating fires raging through Knysna , South Africans countrywide were provided with a range of options of how they could help those most effected. Within the Jewish community, the SAJBD, working closely with its Cape Town office and the Garden Route Jewish Association, took the lead in assessing the needs of the communities and providing support. The SAJBD Cape Council offered counselling and support to victims, while the monetary collection was used as required. Jewish students, under the Zionist Council and SAUJS will be launching a stationery drive on Youth Day in response to the schools that burned down.
An especially moving aspect of the relief efforts was a blanket drive initiated at Yeshiva College in the wake of a tragic accident that led to the untimely passing of grade 8 learner Hugo Paluch. While Hugo was in hospital his class peers decided to do something meaningful on his behalf. Hugo’s passion for outreach programmes resulted in a social media blanket drive, `Hugo’s Warmth’ resulting in a collection of over 2000 blankets. It was decided to send a portion of these to the for victims of the Knysna fires. On Wednesday, the grade 8 learners formed a human chain, passing the blankets down the line until they reached and were stored in the trucks that would be taking them down to Knysna.
Working with a company Wizard Collective, a packed truck including 1000 jackets, 100 kettles, 2 pallets of toilet paper and over 250 cartons of goods left Johannesburg on Tuesday to bring further relief this devastated area.