In a little over seven short months, Boxer Superstores has shown a strong commitment to giving back to the Graaff-Reinet community by actively supporting those in need. By working closely with churches in the region, Boxer Superstores is providing much needed food supplies to families who often have no income and no way to feed themselves.
“The first thing I realised when I was transferred from East London with my family is that Graaff-Reinet is a fantastic little town. It is very friendly and accommodating,” explains Marius Ferreira, the Store Manager for the Graaff-Reinet Boxer Superstores. While Marius was welcomed, it didn’t take long for him to recognise the difficulties his new community experienced and to put the weight of Boxer Superstores behind his community development plans.
While the new store did what it could to ease poverty by employing local staff, the historically significant town has seen its population double since 2001 increasing the existing strain on employment opportunities in the region. Unfortunately the population increase has also led to an increase in those living in poverty; something Marius has witness first hand.
“The town is unbelievably poor,” Marius explains, “a few churches came to Boxer to ask for assistance for those struggling within the community so we took that on and initially targeted 10 families and handed over food parcels that would last each family for a month.” Since then Boxer has provided more than 85 families with basic food supplies and are currently working with 3 churches to identify how best to move forward in broadening their outreach. “We’re trying to cover as many families as possible and so far we have been able to provide some support. Most of the time, we assist families that have no income and very often there is no food in the house when we arrive,” Marius adds.
Working with churches in the area has enabled Boxer Superstores to connect itself to those who work tirelessly to alleviate the poverty in the region, and gain a foothold in long-term sustainable outreach to the community. As Marius indicates, “as the initiative keeps growing, we have begun approaching other churches in the region to make sure we reach more people. Working with churches also allows us to make sure that the donation is used as intended and not sold for alcohol and drugs.”
Substance abuse related problems in the community are a particular concern to both Boxer Superstores and those primary schools in the region that are uniquely placed to educate youth on moderation and self-restraint. Boxer Superstores is currently working closely with primary schools in Graaff-Reinet to raise funds for clean living programmes in school. A massive fundraising drive is planned for June, from which proceeds will be divided equally between the nine primary schools involved.
While Boxer Superstores is a relatively new addition to the Graaff-Reinet corporate landscape, the enthusiastic energy bought by Marius to community development work has set the bulk food supplier up as a company strongly concerned with ensuring that the community benefits from its presence and that customer support is rewarded with strong and appropriate social investment strategies.