Meerkats show their communities they care

With Mandela Day coming around on the 18th of July children and volunteers of the South African Scout Movement are gearing up to show their communities that they care.

“Community service is an integral part of the Promise we make as Scouts and is integrated in our child and youth development programmes”, says SCOUTS South Africa Chief Scout Mr Khonzaphi Mdaka. “Scouting members offer humanitarian aid where needed throughout the year like recently with the floods in KZN, as well as conduct numerous clean-up and environmental initiatives. July is a month in which we always actively encourage service in honour of Nelson Mandela, who was also the Patron of the South African Scout Movement. For most of us life is hard, and hope is easily lost. As a youth movement we want to remind people and local charities that there are people out there who care. So, we have been calling upon our Scouting members to put together care packages or Jars of Hope for people or organisations in need of some assistance. Learning the value of service, of giving, of kindness and respect, are vital life lessons for good citizenship and humanity”, he says.

Community service is an integral part of the Promise we make as Scouts.

We chatted to a few of the Scout Groups on what they are planning and found out that children as young as 5 are helping to put together care packages and Jars of Hope to assist families and people within their neighbourhoods. Jars of Hope are glass jars that contain lentils, rice, split peas, soup mix, and more nutritious dry ingredients. When combined with water and cooked, they make up a tasty and nutritious meal for four people per jar.

Charmaine de Kock Pack Scouter of 1st Tableview Cub Pack is leading the drive to put together Jars of Hope for the communities in which the 1st Blaauwberg, 1st Edgemead, and 1st Tableview Scout Groups operate. Together the volunteers, children aged 5-17, as well as young adults of the Rover programme are planning to donate jars of hope and as such ensuring a warm meal for families. When asked why they opted for this initiative Charmaine responded “Because it is winter and cold, we want to give people a very filling and warm meal that is easy for anyone to make. You just have to add water and cook. We will be donating them to various charities including Glitter, 2HO and Atlantis. Our children prepare the jars themselves; this teaches them how to appreciate what they have at home. They see that their own dinners at home are something to be valued. They also make sandwiches on Thursdays to give to children at schools that have no meals. They see that they too can give a little bit of time to give to others and to create hope. Their homes are now extended to another home as they can help another person too, regardless of their age.” If anybody in the Table View area would like to donate empty glass jars or dry food ingredients, they can contact Charmaine on

1st Muizenberg Scout Group’s Meerkats aged 5 to 6 recently made over 60 Jars of Hope, which means over 240 warm meals, in preparation for their Mandela Day Community Service Project. “The Meerkats managed to make over 60 Jars this year that will be donated to a local charity that serves our community”, says Marihett Bredenkamp, otherwise known as Rafiki, the leader of the Meerkat Den. “When the challenge was issued to Scout Groups to show their communities they care, we were excited to be part of it again. By making the jars themselves, the children learn at a young age that if you have something to give, you can help another family by doing small things, These projects also open doors for discussions around poverty and service to others within the families of our members”, she adds.

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