Popping in to help the youth in Diepsloot

Emilio Alexander, Emilio’s Gourmet Popcorn, Diepsloot, Montecasino, pencil cases, Sipho Mamize, World. Popcorn Day, Emilio Alexander grew up in an informal settlement and has made it a priority to give back to the community. Emilio Alexander of Emilio’s Gourmet Popcorn used the funds he raised on World Popcorn Day, as well as his own money, to donate over 200 pencil cases to disadvantaged children in Diepsloot on 7 March.

Sipho Mamize (left) helps Emilio Alexander (right) hand out the donations.

On 19 January, which is celebrated as World Popcorn Day, the founder and owner of Emilio’s Gourmet Popcorn shop at Montecasino created a doughnut out of flavoured popcorn that had a diameter of over 1.5 meters. He sold off pieces of this doughnut to the public in order to raise funds to supply over 200 schoolchildren from Afika Tikkun in Diepsloot with pencil cases. The 200 pencil cases were bought from his fundraising, while a further 50 were financed from his own pocket.

Pencil cases and bags of popcorn are handed out on the day.

On 7 March, Alexander arrived at the Afrika Tikkun premises to hand out the pencil cases, as well as bags of popcorn from his business.

“I also grew up in the townships, I’m from Eldorado Park and Westbury, and I know what it’s like to live in poverty,” explained the entrepreneur.

Emilio Alexander poses with some of the children who received the donations. “I would’ve been so happy with [a pencil case] if I got it as a child. I’ve been an entrepreneur since I was 17, and I know that I wouldn’t be where I am [today] if I hadn’t read as much as I did growing up. Therefore, I wanted to donate pencil cases, specifically, because I wanted to encourage these children to focus on their education – education is very important.”

Afika Tikkun runs a ‘cradle to career’ programme for the youth in the area in the hopes that it will help today’s youth become tomorrow’s productive citizens. The Diepsloot centre provides aid in early childhood development, help with afternoon schoolwork, community support and even food for local children.

“We just want to thank Emilio for this donation,” said Sipho Mamize, the general manager for Afrika Tikkun.

“It’s so important for people to understand that a business doesn’t need to be making millions before it can give back to its community.”

This isn’t the last time that Alexander wants to help those who live in the vicinity of his shop.

Read Diepsloot Combined wants to rise above

“For World Popcorn Day next year, I’m going to make a doughnut once again, but in order to get a piece customers will have to donate a pair of shoes for children in need.”

If you would like to find our more about Afrika Tikkun, or donate to their work, visit their website at http://www.afrikatikkun.org/

Are you planning to do something meaningful for your community? We’d love to cover it for our publication! Tell us about it by emailing fourwaysr@caxton.co.za

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