Launched in Centurion last week the Goodwill Project, an SA National Defence Force (SANDF) Spouses Forum initiative, will this year again see military-type intensity and planning as each and every soldier in a mission area is rewarded via a gift pack.
All told gift packs and food hampers worth more than R5,5 million will be delivered far and wide, often to desolate spots literally in the middle of nowhere, as well as to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan in a 16 day period.
“Soldiers deployed as part of Operation Corona (border protection) will be visited and be handed a gift pack sometime during the period December 22 to January 6 even if they are at a temporary base camp on the Mozambique/South Africa in the Kruger National Park with wild animals all round them,” Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton said.
A week has been set aside by the organising committee for its members to visit South African soldiers deployed on Operation Corona. With the exception of a Reserve Force company in Upington responsible for safeguarding a section of the Namibia/South Africa border, Goodwill Project people will see soldiers in their working environment on the borders with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.
All told close to 6 000 soldiers deployed in mission areas, internally on operations Copper and Corona, as well as those in Sudan and the DRC, will be recipients of gift packs. The packs, chosen by the organising committee, are a wheeled luggage backpack filled with personal items including a Bible, donated by the Bible Society of SA, fittingly with a camouflage cover.
The maritime component of Operation Copper in the form of a ship’s company aboard an OPV will join their SA Air Force colleagues in the Mozambican port of Pemba to receive their Goodwill Project gift packs.
Deployed airmen, medics, sailors and soldiers who have to spend the festive season far from family and loved ones will rest easier knowing these people are also part of the Goodwill Project.
“They will receive hampers, containing mostly food, but also other essentials, that will be delivered to their doors during the December 22/January 6 period,” Paxton said.
The value of the hampers is around R700 each and when added to the gift pack all totals up to more than R5,5 million worth of Christmas cheer.
The major sponsor this year is again Massmart whose contribution was gratefully received by SANDF Chief, General Solly Shoke’s wife, Charlotte, at the recent Goodwill Project 2014 launch function.