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FoodForward SA supports the health and well-being of people with disabilities

Of the 1,300 registered and vetted beneficiary organisations within our network, FoodForward SA supports 120 disability care facilities who heroically care for children and adults suffering from profound disability.

We recently visited Little Eden Society, located in Edenvale Gauteng. Little Eden was established in 1967 by Domitilla and Danny Hyams with the help of a group of friends, advice from experts in the field and a R10 donation. Initially, it was a simple day care facility, operating in the Edenvale Methodist church hall and by year two, there were 23 children and a nursing sister supervisor. Today, Little Eden is a large non-profit organisation accommodating 300 children and adults with profound intellectual disability in two specialised residential care facilities, the Domitilla and Danny Hyams Home in Edenvale and the Elvira Rota Village in Bapsfontein.

Little Eden joined the FoodForward SA network in September 2019 and feeds 300 children & adults requiring specialized care, the youngest child being three and the eldest being 70 years old. Although the average age of the residents is 26 years, the average intellectual age is that of a one-year-old or younger. On a monthly basis a Little Eden representative makes their way to collect food provisions at our Johannesburg warehouse including nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables.

Little Eden cook, preparing lunchtime berries and yogurt dessert blend for residents

Residents are grouped according to their needs, abilities and behaviour.  Some residents have dual diagnosis (intellectual disability with mental illness). These residents are accommodated in their own section where they feel comfortable and safe. During our tour of the facility conducted by Sr Maritza, the Site Manager of the Edenvale facility, we learned that patients with neuromuscular disabilities have difficulty chewing and swallowing which can result in malnutrition, so food has to be prepared in a special way, not fully pureed but rather soft enough to accommodate their sensitive & soft palates.

“The kind donations from FoodForward SA assist in adding to nutritional meals for our angels in the form of fresh fruit and veggies as well as non-perishable goods which go a long way in keeping our pantry stocked.  An added treat is the sweet surprises that are found in the donations. These are used to celebrate special birthdays and events which turns into huge happy parties”, said Sr Maritza. At Little Eden they believe that no matter how profoundly disabled a person may be, he or she is still a whole complete being, with a body; a mind; a spirit and a soul.

At FoodForward SA our foodbanking model serves as a catalyst for the developmental work of organisations such as Little Eden. Thank you to the nurses, volunteers and cooks at Little Eden who pay special attention to the specialised needs of their residents!

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