The University of the Western Cape’s Community Engagement Unit handed over care packs to the senior citizens at Lilyhaven Place retirement home in Bonteheuwel on Friday, 9 September 2016.
The care packs are a Mandela Day initiative which was an idea the staff at Community Engagement came up with. Many people from amongst the campus community assisted in buying the goodies inside, as well as packing them for the elderly at the retirement home as part of their 67 minutes on Mandela day.
Lilyhaven Place is a sub-economic home which houses 114 senior citizens with a variety of medical conditions. The home was selected as this year’s facility to benefit from the care packs which were donated by UWC staff and students.
Xolela Mbilini, Manager at the retirement home said the place has undergone a lot of transition and as a retirement home they live by social grants and mini subsidies from the Department of Social Development.
“Many of the residents here come from the large Cape Town area. They depend on people like you to come once in a while and remind them that you have not forgotten about them, and that they matter even though they are now retired”, he said.
“Some of them don’t even have families. Moments like these of gift giving means a lot to them, because as we grow old we like to be appreciated. We like to be noticed, not just to be statistics,” he added.
Director at the Community Engagement Unit, Professor Priscilla Daniels, said: “It’s a privilege for us to be here, because we are always so busy with our own lives that we don’t think about the people who just need a gentle touch”.
She added by saying the elderly at the home have not been forgotten, “You fought so that we could have the freedom that we experience today. If it were not for the contributions you made in the struggle and the children you raised, we would have not been here today.
“We have care packs and I would like to salute staff and students who helped us in putting these together for you. For our Mandela day effort we sent out a message to the campus community to donate whatever they can, and these care packs were made with lots of love just for you.”
The elderly were later treated to cakes and juice. Mr Mbilini urged all those with the means to come and visit, play games, and help out where they can, as many of the residents at Lilyhaven no longer have families.
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