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FoodForward SA Celebrates 15 Years of Impact

FoodForward SA Celebrates 15 Years of Impact

From its humble beginnings in 2000 as an organisation called FeedBack Food Redistribution, FoodForward SA has journeyed through a remarkable transformation. Born from a simple yet purposeful message to repurpose “excess” food from film sets for distribution to community kitchens in Cape Town, Feedback reached about 60 community kitchens aiding the city’s destitute population and laying the foundation for an organisation that years later would evolve into a national force against hunger.

From Feedback Food Distribution to Foodbank South Africa

The pivotal moment came when the collaboration between certain members of The Global Foodbanking Network and the South Africa Forum for Food Security sparked the idea of creating a foodbanking non-profit organisation for South Africa. The concept gained momentum with the support of additional non-profit organisations and key partners like Pick ‘n Pay, Unilever and Nestle. In 2009, this vision crystalised with the establishment of Foodbank South Africa, under the stewardship of Feedback’s board including our current chairman, Crispin Sonn. That year marked a significant milestone with the distribution of 3,400 tons of food to 600 beneficiary organisations.

A new direction and new leadership

The appointment of Andy Du Plessis as managing director in 2013 signaled a new era. Facing the challenge of growing costs including a cost per meal of nearly R2, Andy spearheaded a strategic overhaul which commenced producing a leaner and more cost-efficient and focused organisation. This restructuring phase included making hard decisions of closing inefficient branches and ‘off-boarding’ non-compliant beneficiary organisations, setting the stage for unprecedent growth and impact.

FoodForward SA: A new name and mission

With the adoption of the name FoodForward SA in 2013, the organisation embraced a future-focused vision, driving innovative solutions to combat hunger. Under this new banner, FoodForward SA has expanded its reach across all nine provinces and drastically reduced the cost per meal to R0,47, showcasing an impressive scale of efficiency and impact. Today, FoodForward SA supports over 2,500 beneficiary organisations monthly, ensuring each is rigorously vetted to ensure accountability in food distribution. Our model has evolved beyond traditional warehouse operations to embrace virtual foodbanking, mobile rural distribution, disaster aid, and targeted programs for mothers, children, and youth, as well as sustainable livelihood programmes. Together, these food security programmes enable us to feed over 920,000 vulnerable individuals daily.

An abundance of gratitude and looking forward

Our journey to this milestone has been fueled by the steadfast support of a dedicated ecosystem united in our mission. As we mark 15 years of meaningful impact, we are profoundly reminded of the collective dedication of our donors, supply chain partners, volunteers, board members, and staff. Their unwavering commitment and collaborative efforts have been instrumental in reaching this pivotal moment in our journey.

Here’s to the next 15 years of partnership, collaboration and innovation as we forge a path towards our vision of a South Africa without hunger.

Donate to FoodForward SA and help us continue to make an impact over the next 15 years.

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