For the first time in the 31-year old festival’s history, the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival has announced it breached the R2-million mark in money raised for charity in a single year. This brings the total amount raised by the festival for charity since 2007 to more than R11-million.
Knysna Tourism CEO Greg Vogt says that since every official event is required to contribute a portion of proceeds to charity, the festival has a long history of benefiting the local community.
“The Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival is dynamic in its economic model of distributing financial benefit throughout the town. One such avenue of benefit is through the contribution each event makes to its charity of choice.”
Mark Willemse, Fundraising Coordinator of Knysna Epilepsy, one of the local charities who benefited with a donation of R400 000, says the organisation will use the money towards much needed upgrades to its service and care facility, including the establishment of a frailcare facility.
“The wonderful donation comes at a very critical time. Epilepsy in Knysna has 52 permanent residents with varying degrees of disability. Some of the residents are of an advanced age and have been at the centre for more than 28 years. These patients have been receiving special care and it would be detrimental to their health and wellbeing should they be placed elsewhere. There are no other facilities that are available to care for the disabled aged. Hence the establishment of a frailcare facility has become a priority to which this extremely generous donation will certainly help make possible.”
The festival’s largest events were key contributors, with the Momentum Cape Times Knysna Forest Marathon (R823 000 cash raised + R400 000 worth of blankets), the Momentum Weekend Argus Rotary Knysna Cycle Tour (R500 000 cash raised), and the Tabasco Knysna Classic Golf Day collectively raising R1,4-million which will benefit Knysna and surrounds for years to come.
Greg Vogt explains, “This years 21% increase in charity contribution from 2013 excludes the many other ways charities have benefited from the festival and festival sponsors. This year, for example, Momentum and Sesli donated R400 000 worth of quality blankets to Families South Africa (FAMSA), which marathon runners used to keep warm before the race. It was a wonderful gesture and unique way of making a difference.”
Festival Manager Nicci Rousseau-Schmidt says the festival has the community at its heart. “The 2014 festival not only benefited the local economy with a local expenditure of R5,4-million by events, plus a R91,8-million total economic impact, but its charitable contributions bring invaluable support to local non-profit organisations. Most importantly, the festival offers a platform to bring people together to celebrate the best ten days of winter while giving back to those who need it most.”