Food security for vulnerable families in the lockdown calls for coordinated action
Companies and individuals who want to make sure that children don’t go hungry during the national lockdown are being asked to add their support to an initiative that already feeds thousands of youngsters every day.
Tiger Brand Foundation normally provides a hot, nutritious daily breakfast to 74 300 learners in more than 100 underprivileged schools across the country. With schools now closed in the lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19, food is being delivered to their homes to continue fighting hunger and malnutrition.
By April 16, Tiger Brands Foundation had delivered 6,000 food hampers to needy families, making sure youngsters don’t lose what might be their only nutritious meal of the day. But the demand is proving too big for the Foundation to meet alone, says its director Eugene Absolom, and he’s appealing for support from other companies that are also eager to help poor families survive the lockdown.
Tiger Brands Foundation already has an efficient delivery system in place, knows where the greatest areas of need are, and has a list of families desperate for help. It makes sense for other companies and donors to build on that advantage rather than waste time and money trying to replicate the rescue mission, Absolom says.
The 6,000 food hampers that Tiger Brands Foundation has already distributed to families across the country include far more than the usual breakfast. They contain enough food to feed a family, including flour, pilchards, rice, beans, Morvite, oats, samp, mealie meal and milk powder. They also include soap to help with family hygiene.
“The families receiving these hampers are those whose children were already on our in-school breakfast programme. In the past few days, we have received many requests for help from other families who are also desperate for support,” Absolom says. Since the Foundation has already allocated its budget to care for the learners on its in-school nutrition programme, this is the perfect opportunity for other organisations to come on board and broaden the reach.
“Corporates and other donors can collaborate with the Foundation to take this programme far beyond those 6,000 families who are already part of our breakfast programme,” he says. “We already have an efficient distribution network reaching communities across the entire country, and we procure the goods at factory cost, which makes the Foundation an ideal vehicle that other donors can partner with to make their own contribution to vulnerable communities.”
With the lockdown now extended for the whole of April, the country’s most vulnerable people are facing a hunger crisis. Supermarkets and spazas are already being looted in communities with high unemployment rates and where even those who had jobs have not been paid, leaving no money to buy even the bare essentials.
These vital food hampers can help to alleviate their suffering, Absolom says. This is a critical time for South Africa and especially for its food-insecure families, and he’s calling for those with the means to help to step up to the task. “The job is too big for any one organisation to tackle alone, but together we can make an enormous difference and help many more families survive,” he says.
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Press statement - 18 April 2020