A total of 200 fruit trees and vines were planted at Thembalami Care Centre on July 11.
The trees were donated by Cummins Filtration and Food & Trees for Africa (FTFA).
Run by 115-year-old NPO Rand Aid, the Lombardy East care centre provides a haven of hope for elders who are either financially or physically vulnerable. It also incorporates the Max Ordman Deaf Association.
Thembalami already features large grounds and has an existing herb and vegetable garden, which is nurtured by Amon Maluleke, one of the founders of Bambanani Food and Herb Co-operative in the centre of Johannesburg, and a team of Rand Aid gardeners.
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Maluleke volunteered for many months at Thembalami and helped establish the centre’s vegetable garden, before being offered a full-time post as grounds assistant in October 2017.
It was primarily thanks to Maluleke that Thembalami was chosen as one of Cummins’ corporate social investment (CSI) beneficiaries.
Emily Jones, trees and carbon programme manager at FTFA, said that Maluleke’s involvement with Thembalami and passion for growing plants and growing people meant that Cummins could rest assured that a dedicated and experienced gardener would be on site for years to come.
“This convinced Cummins that its investment would be taken care of for the benefit of the community. In addition, Thembalami is a well-run centre that serves vulnerable community members,” she said.
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“The 80 Cummins volunteers worked hard to ensure as many trees as possible were planted on the day, in soil that was well-mulched and composted. We are all very excited to visit Maluleke and Thembalami again and see the trees growing and bearing fruit.”
Environmental awareness and stewardship are part of the DNA of Cummins, a global energy and power leader.
Thus, tree planting and food gardening are some of Cummins’ on-going CSI programmes, and the company also supports a number of food gardens and small farms in the Alexandra area, which is a stone’s throw away from Thembalami.
FTFA’s relationship with Cummins has over the years resulted in a number of successful food gardening, tree planting, and environment programmes at schools and community institutions. The emphasis is on staff volunteerism as well as long-term support for greater impact.
“We cannot say thank you enough,” said Thembalami manager Elize Raath.
“Not only did Cummins donate the trees, but its staff members gave of their time to personally plant these trees. Thank you for blessing our garden. We cannot wait for the trees to start blossoming and bearing fruit.”