NPO feeds thousands in Western Cape as lockdown destroys jobs

As South Africa continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus, thousands of families are faced with the dilemma of food insecurity during the national lockdown, due to loss of jobs, closure of many businesses and cut off incomes.

Community Chest, Non-Profit Organisation(NPO) in Cape Town, has launched a food distribution relief programme for local communities that are feeling the economic hardship caused by the Covid-19 lockdown. Every Saturday the organisation distributes thousands of food relief boxes, as determined by the organisation and the communities it serves.

The community-driven NPO said the contents of the food boxes are nutritionally diverse, and one box worth R400 can sustain a family of five for a month. Each box contains beans, bread, butternut, jam, macaroni, maize, milk, a mushroom soup packet, oil, onions, oranges, peanut butter, pilchards, potatoes, rice, salt, soap, soup mix, spaghetti, split peas, tomato and onion mix, and a vegetable soup packet.

Over the course of week one of distribution, more than 15 000 individuals from 3 000 households in over 100 communities benefited. A repeat of week one saw a further 3 000 food boxes packed and distributed. Community Chest has to date packed and distributed 6 000 food boxes and supplemented food security for a month for 6 000 families, amounting to over 30 000 individuals being fed in 200 communities. The distributed food parcels were valued at a total of R1.8 million.

They thanked all of their donors, corporate and trust donor communities, for helping them feed communities. “You are our coalition of the committed and we salute you. We thank two major donors, the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the Solidarity Fund, for this week’s support,” said the organisation.

Desiré Goliath, Community Chest spokesperson urged the public and businesses to keep donating to the fund as the need grows.“We welcome financial donations as well as in-kind product donations. Loss of income due to lockdown, as well as delayed May social grant payouts, adds a further burden to already challenged households,” said Goliath.

So far, the programme has focused on communities around the Western Cape, but the organisation said that it was looking into expanding its reach to other provinces as it receives additional donor funding.