Before the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa had 30 million people living below the poverty line; our public health care system was grossly inadequate on various levels; millions of people, such as informal traders and day-job seekers were surviving by earning a daily income; small businesses were struggling to stay afloat; and we are in yet another recession.
While it is anyone’s guess at this stage what the overall impact of COVID-19 will be, it is safe to assume that the COVID-19 collision will be severe and far reaching, both in the short and long term. People relying on social grants will now have to stretch this meagre amount to help more family members. Most informal traders and day-job seekers do not have any form of savings or medical insurance. Millions of people will not have the necessary funds to be able to buy food to survive. As more people have less access to food, this will increase the incidence of ill-health. As more people become ill, this places even further strain on an already overburdened health system, it will create the perfect storm for a social, political and economic crisis. The long-term effects will see large-scale job losses as a result of poor / negative economic growth. And, government’s stimulus package efforts will not be enough to soften the blow. Vulnerable people already feel invisible, neglected, forgotten, and hopeless. We need to restore their hope.
FoodForward SA has a permit to remain open during the COVID-19 lock down, and we are working with a range of social partners to restore hope across our nation by providing much-needed food provisions to food insecure households through our network of registered beneficiary organisations (BOs) over the next four to six months.
We salute our staff working in branches across the country, all our health care workers, and all the people and organisations working to make sure that we do what we can to mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19.Over a little more than a week ago I put out a public R50 million COVID-19 Food Security Appeal. These funds will ensure that in the next 4 – 6 months we distribute critical food provisions to at-risk BOs, including the elderly, disabled, people affected with HIV/AIDS and TB, Orphans and vulnerable children, and vulnerable families through community feeding programmes. Our plan to scale includes reaching vulnerable rural communities, as well as establishing branches in three new provinces where we currently do not operate (Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape).
Thanks to our generous donors, individuals and corporations, we have so far received R5.5 million in financial donations and R12 million in food donations. Since the commencement of the lock down we have distributed R1,8m worth of food to over 60,000 at-risk people via 150 of our most vulnerable BOs across the country. As part of our COVID-19 Business Readiness Plan we are fast-tracking applications from at-risk BOs and to date we have on-boarded 200 new BOs for immediate food distribution.
According to the Institute for Risk Management in South Africa (IRMSA), risks such as civil unrest and increased crime are imminent if South Africa does not address the urgent food insecurity problems.
We would like to thank the following donors so far:
American Tower SA
Cars on the Internet (cars.co.za)
2 Easy Incubator Pty Ltd
Eliot and Myra Osrin Charitable Trust
Gillian Saunders Consulting Pty Ltd
Global Foodbanking Network
Indecx Instrumentation CC
Investec Private Trusts
Old Mutual Staff Volunteer Fund Trust
Trevor Noah Foundation
And the numerous individual donors who have generously donated via EFT, GivenGain, SnapScan and Zapper.
Food and non-food donors:
Bo Rayden Farm
CD Dry Goods
Fruit and Veg
JC Coetzee Farm
Johnson and Johnson
Mr Gielie Geldenhys
Pick n Pay
Peter Falke Farm
Piet Van der Merwe
Rhodes Food Group