Registered food redistribution non-profit, FoodForward SA (FFSA), is proud to announce the opening of its ninth and newest warehouse in Mbombela, Mpumalanga – signalling the final milestone on its mission to establish a branch in every South African province.
“We are grateful to have a warehouse in each province across South Africa,” says Andy Du Plessis, FFSA managing director. “Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic caused devastating scenes of acute food insecurity, we made it our mission to rapidly scale our operations. This strategic expansion has been realised with the long-awaited opening of our Mpumalanga warehouse.”
The Mbombela warehouse will grow to serve as a vital hub for food distribution to around 150 beneficiary organisations (BOs), delivering life-saving services in the province. These organisations include those focussing on affordable healthcare, orphans and vulnerable children, care for women, skills development for unemployed youth, the elderly and people with disabilities. “As the cost of living crisis intensifies, and food prices escalate, more people are needing the vital services of NPOs, including nutritious meals. This is where we are best able to assist,” says Du Plessis.
FFSA has meticulously vetted all beneficiary organisations in Mpumalanga, ensuring that they are recognised NPOs committed to making a positive impact in under-served communities.
“Special thanks to all our donors, including Absa, FNB, RMB and The Global FoodBanking Network that contributed towards to our food security efforts in the province. The new facility will include cold-chain facilities, which will help us unlock even more food donations,” says Du Plessis.
“Absa Group is pleased to have been part of this initiative aimed at alleviating food insecurity in the country. Our donation forms part of our commitment to helping meet the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals such as SDG 1 and 2 for food security, while also being an active for good in our communities,” said Regional Executive for Physical Channels in Mpumalanga, Nkosinathi Dlamini.
“Food banking is crucial for resilient communities and for the betterment of our food systems. We have seen heroic efforts from food banks to get food to those who need it most, and we are proud to support FoodForward SA as they continue to expand their reach and impact to serve more people facing hunger in South Africa,” says Lisa Moon, president and CEO, The Global FoodBanking Network.
To further enhance accessibility and reach across the province, FFSA’s mobile rural depot (MRD) programme plays a crucial role. Through the MRD programme, monthly food provisions are delivered to centrally located rural depots, eliminating the need for NPOs to travel to the main warehouse in Mbombela. Mobile rural depots in Dullstroom, Goba, Embalenhle and Witbank currently serve 5 300 vulnerable people on a daily basis.
“The launch of our ninth warehouse represents a significant step towards eradicating food insecurity in South Africa,” explains Du Plessis. “By expanding our presence to every province, we are committed to providing a sustainable solution to unnecessary food waste and improving the lives of vulnerable individuals and communities across the nation.”