Hotels transform sheets into masks to support community workers and members

The community of Fiona Court, Heideveld in the Cape Flats along with members of the District 6 Working Committee (D6WC) have received reusable cotton masks made from hotel linen.  

Marriott International has made funding and a total of 1000 high quality sheets available for the creation of cloth masks, which have been donated to members of the community as well as volunteers of D6WC to aid in their relief efforts in communities across the Cape Flats.

Travelstart Domestic“Marriott International understands the importance of supporting our vulnerable communities, which is why we’ve made funding available for the creation of 4300 cloth masks.

Of these, 3300 have been donated to the community and the volunteers of D6WC to ensure that they remain protected and are able to continue with the great work that they do.

The remainder will be used by Marriott International associates at the Regional Offices in Cape Town and Johannesburg to ensure they are able to safely return to their positions,” says Volker Heiden, Area Vice President – Sub Saharan Africa, Marriott International.

The masks were handed over on Thursday 2 July in Heideveld, Cape Town.

The cloth masks were made by Restore SA Pty Ltd. Previously, Marriott International and Restore SA collaborated to create over 2300 school shirts, donated to schools across South Africa in 2019, as a part of the ‘Sheets for Shirts’ initiative.

“Our hotels replace their bed linen on a regular basis, we have sought to uplift our surrounding communities by donating them towards learners in need of school uniforms.

However, this project has been eclipsed by the need to keep vulnerable communities fed during the current environment.

Despite lockdown regulations, Marriott International has found a way to support those who are at the front line of keeping our surrounding communities fed through our ongoing partnership with Restore SA,” says Heiden.

“We are delighted to collaborate with the (D6WC) to keep their members safe, as they prepare and serve meals to up to 10 000 people in 10 communities across Cape Town.”

The District 6 Working Committee is made up of a galvanised group of people from all walks of life who lobby on behalf of former residents of District Six and their descendants, who are spread across communities in the Cape Flats.

The organisation aims to assist not only people of District Six but all historically disadvantaged communities in achieving urban restitution.

During the lockdown period, the group of over 3500 members has driven charity efforts such as soup kitchens and youth development programmes in areas such as Hanover Park, Mitchells Plain, Manenberg and Retreat.

“As the District 6 Working Committee, we have a large grassroots base on the Cape Flats and have for many years been involved in community support initiatives to assist the vulnerable and dispossessed communities.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, we already had established informal soup kitchens on the ground, managed by seasoned field workers, who could feed and assist vulnerable communities in many areas,” says District 6 Working Committee spokesperson Karen Breytenbach.

The organisation also partnered with other community groups and organisations to form an even more representative, distributed initiative, called People Are People (PAP).

“Our PAP community leaders jumped into action right away and have worked tirelessly for the past 10 weeks to serve their communities in the face of the pandemic.

Collectively, during lockdown our 10 main sites served more than 6 000 to 10 000 community members a day, depending on the level of resources and donations available to them at any given time.

They rely on the kindness of donors and are beyond grateful for the masks that are being donated by Marriott International properties. These masks will go to the most vulnerable members of the District 6 Working Committee – we are prioritising the old, frail and sick who are in need of protection.

Our communities are at the coalface of this pandemic and they need all the support they can get, to get through this difficult time,” says Breytenbach.

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