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FoodForward SA's expanded network reaching under-served communities across SA

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, food redistribution charity FoodForward SA has successfully distributed more than 4,000 tonnes of food to vulnerable communities, equating to 16 million meals, to a network of 1,000 registered beneficiary organisations (BOs). This represents a 78% increase compared to what the organisation distributed for the entire previous year - a clear indication of growing hunger across South Africa.
FoodForward SA's expanded network reaching under-served communities across SA

As a direct result of achieving their R50m Covid-19 Appeal, FoodForward SA was been able to scale up almost immediately by extending its beneficiary footprint to include all nine provinces, including Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and Limpopo. The organisation supports a broad range of socially impactful organisations, including charities focused on early childhood development (22%), orphans and vulnerable children (11%), disability care (6%), aged and frail care (7%), HIV and Aids care (2%), school and after-school care (12%), skills development (8%), community feeding programmes (18%), shelters and rehab care (9%), and support groups and clubs (5%).

Says FoodForward SA MD Andy Du Plessis, “As we celebrate Nelson Mandela's life and legacy during the month of July, we’re encouraged to remember Madiba’s role in championing human equality and freedom for all people. Similarly, while FoodForward SA's mission is to fill empty bellies and achieve zero hunger, their food banking model is designed to support charities that make a meaningful social and developmental impact in under-served communities. More than 75% of their beneficiary organisation network focus on vulnerable children, education, skills development, and women. In this way, good quality nutritious surplus food is used to improve learning opportunities and cognitive performance in children, prevents stunting in early childhood development, and provides an incentive for at-risk groups to participate in support groups and attend care programmes that enable them to thrive and allows for better health and social outcomes across a wide socio-economic spectrum.”

Ikageng
Ikageng

One of FoodForward SA’s newest beneficiary organisations to join the network, Ikageng, which is based in Gauteng, takes care of orphaned and other vulnerable children in and around Soweto. By providing for their basic needs, Ikageng relieves some of the pressure and despair faced by children who, having lost parents and guardians to Aids, are forced to take on adult roles. The charity creates a caring and loving environment for the children to thrive by providing them with a home, nutritious food, taking care of their educational needs, transportation, life skills and other development needs, emotional and other social and spiritual support.

Ikageng
Ikageng

Says Ikageng’s CEO, Carol Dyantyi, “The involvement of FoodForward SA in our organisation could not have come at a better time as we also serve over 2,000 beneficiaries in 453 households. While these are mostly orphaned and other vulnerable people, including children infected by HIV and their guardians, the Covid pandemic and its impact on the most vulnerable in our community has forced us to make the necessary shifts and cater for desperate people who knock at our door seeking assistance.”

Another FoodForward SA beneficiary organisation, based in the Western Cape, is the 9 Miles Project which works with at-risk youth using surfing as an incentive to provide support, guidance and empowerment. Founded in 2013 by Nigel and Sher’Neil Savel, 9 Miles provides safe spaces, structured after school programmes, mentoring and holistic support to at-risk youth and their families in the areas of Cape Town, Elands Bay, and St Francis Bay. Based at the Strandfontein Pavilion, the organisation is a safe haven and refuge for hundreds of kids who have few positive role models in their lives.

9 Miles Project
9 Miles Project

Says Sher’Neil Savel, 9 Miles co-founder, “Surfing and life empowerment is a powerful combination that instils discipline, determination and character, and promotes good mental, physical and emotional health. The communities where the kids come from are rife with poverty, social issues and unemployment. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the dire situation even more. The partnership with FoodForward SA, especially through the provision of food parcels during the pandemic, has enabled us to provide critical food relief for our over 1,000 beneficiaries. Since the start of the lockdown, we have served 110,000 meals, which includes breakfast, to about 500 people daily (318 children, and 200 sickly/vulnerable adults) and dinner to 1,000 people daily, seven days per week.”

Realistic (Rebuilding and Life Skills Training Centre) is based in Gugulethu in the Western Cape. They provide rehabilitation and re-integration support to ex-offenders. One of only a few community-based organisations providing this kind of specialised service in the Western Cape, Realistic was founded in 2004 by Solomon Mandikane and offers ex-prisoners a six-month intervention programme which combines therapeutic activities with life skills training, gender and HIV/Aids awareness, vocational training and career counselling. About 18.3% of the Western Cape population is made up of youth between the ages of 15-24, of which one in three are born into single parent families.

Solomon says, “Thanks to the monthly food donations from FoodForward SA, we save thousands of rands each month, which we reinvest into our skills programme. The food itself is of such a good quality and very nutritious, which serves as an incentive for our marginalised and at-risk beneficiaries to attend these programmes.”

As part of its new fundraising campaign to commemorate Mandela Month, FoodForward SA has launched an appeal to the public to donate R255 as a once off donation that will feed one person, one meal per day, for an entire year.

For more information, click here.

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