Legends living up to name during lockdown

SA Rugby Legends Association president GAVIN VAREJES explains how they are giving back during the lockdown.

When John Allan and I started the Legends in 2001, one of the first people we asked to get involved was Ian McIntosh, the former Sharks and Springbok coach. At first, he didn’t like the name ‘Legends’ because he said he wasn’t one. When I told him that for me a legend is someone who gives back, and that is what the Rugby Legends is all about, Mac said he was in!

I’ve got the biggest private collection of Nelson Mandela memorabilia in the world – he’s my hero. Mr Mandela once said: ‘Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice.’ I couldn’t agree more.

With the Legends’ Vuka Rugby programme having been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been working really hard on our feeding programmes.

A couple of weeks ago, I sent a message to a group of about 25 people saying I couldn’t stand by while South Africans were starving and encouraged them to meet me at our local Pick n Pay in Morningside. Twenty of them arrived (the other five were out of town) and I told everyone to take a trolley and fill it up with food. We then distributed it to those in need.

This past Sunday, we had 50 people who handed out around 400 food parcels. Several former and current rugby players joined us – including John Smit, Joel Stransky, Warren Brosnihan, Elton Jantjies and Hacjivah Dayimani – as well as Minister Lindiwe Zulu, who filled a trolley and assisted with the packing and handouts.

Craigie Stevenson, Gavin, John Smit, Elton Jantjies and Joel Stransky

Craigie Stevenson, Gavin, John Smit, Elton Jantjies and Joel Stransky

Every food parcel feeds five people for three or four days. It includes things like oats, mielie-meal, beans, polony, nuts, tins of bully beef or pilchards, and salt. We also include a candle, which can burn for 24 hours and be used to heat up a pot, as well as things like sanitary pads, soap and Dettol.

We will also assist in purchasing and distributing hundreds of thousands of meals across the country.

Tightline Fisheries and McCain have donated 30 tons of potatoes to our initiative, for which we are very appreciative, while Bismarck du Plessis has put together food parcels from their farm.

Andrew Dunn and Money4Jam have linked up with Joint Aid Management to help distribute tens of thousands of food vouchers to the poorest and most remote areas of our country.

A huge shout out to Douglas Craigie Stevenson, CEO of Cell C, Ty Waterston from Worldwide Advisory Services, Tony Strike and our other sponsors and supporters who have given us runway, wings and glide path.

It’s truly incredible how the SA Rugby Legends and feeding programmes, from the largest to the smallest, are teaming up to help government feed as many people as we can.

If you are in a position to help, please make a donation at the SA Rugby Legends website or to John Smit’s foundation, Barney’s Army.

Every single cent goes to the cause.

Original article posted on https://rugbyrocks.com/legends-living-up-to-name-during-lockdown

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