The Comrades Marathon Association (CMA) joined hands with sponsor, Hollywoodbets today in handing over food parcels for distribution via official Comrades Charity, the Community Chest of Pietermaritzburg and Durban.

Community-focussed betting operator, Hollywoodbets, pledged a R3.6 million investment towards the rebuilding and upliftment of communities through its My Community Programme after last

month’s civil unrest and looting resulted in the vandalism and destruction of many communities, organisations and companies in the province.

Their #HopeisPower campaign was introduced on 19 July 2021 with the sole purpose of providing immediate relief in the form of food hampers or assistance to areas that were in major distress. The campaign also offered support to businesses that felt the brunt of the recent upheaval.

The Community Chest is a registered non-profit organisation and its mission is to inspire and facilitate giving back and action for community enhancement. It believes that four key social issues need to be addressed in both systemic and specific ways, which may lead to meaningful social, economic and political transformation. These four social issues are education, health, stable income-generation and community.

As part of the #HopeisPower campaign, Hollywoodbets pledged R50,000 towards the Community Chest. The Chest is one of the longest serving official Amabeadibeadi Charities of the Comrades Marathon.

The Hollywoodbets donation will go towards delivering food hampers to areas that have been severely affected by last month’s looting and unrest. Team members and officials paid a visit to Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest today (Wednesday, 25 August 2021) to hand over the donation and share messages of goodwill and support.

Richard Rangiah, the Director of the Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest, stated that the recent riots affected many establishments and families that the organisation supports. He added, “We have identified deserving families from employees that were affected because of their workplaces being destroyed or damaged and they are now without work. These people have supported the Community Chest which tries to help everyone in the community. Now it’s our turn to give back and help these people who have supported us in the past.”

CMA Chairperson, Cheryl Winn said, “We value the amazing generosity by Hollywoodbets. Affected members of the community will reap the benefits of this food hamper roll-out which will no doubt go a long way in easing the burden of those breadwinners that are without jobs during this distressing time. On behalf of the CMA Board, Staff and Race Organising Committee, we convey our gratitude to this outstanding Comrades Marathon sponsor.”

Using the #HopeisPower campaign and collaborating with its Partners and Brand Ambassadors, Hollywoodbets has supported 89 organisations with 2,948 essentials hampers that assisted 10,097 beneficiaries. The campaign also reached 32 small to medium businesses and helped them to get back on their feet.

The #HopeisPower campaign also partnered with popular radio stations to make a difference in various communities. The Purple Family donated an amount of R100,000 to support YFM’s efforts in assisting SMMEs in Gauteng to recover, as well as R500,000 towards Ukhozi FM’s efforts to assist communities that fell victim to the riots.

Rasigan Naidoo, the CSI Manager at Hollywoodbets, explained that despite these difficult circumstances, communities have come together, “We have been united to help one another, in the true sense of “Ubuntu”. It is important for us to offer immediate relief and assist with the rebuilding of the communities in which we operate. Our thoughts are with those who have suffered loss or are facing distressing times.”