Focus on our beneficiaries: 9Miles Project

FoodForward SA currently serves a network of around 1,000 registered beneficiary organisations. This month we focus on the 9Miles Project, which does phenomenal work with at-risk youth.

9Miles Project is a non-profit organisation that was founded in 2013 by Nigel and Sher’Neil Savel. Using surfing as an incentive, 9Miles 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 Strandfontein Pavilion, the organisation is a safe haven and refuge for kids who have few positive role models in their lives.

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 9Miles Project serves over 1,000 people in the informal settlements of Strandfontein (7de Laan, City Mission, Masincedane, Oppermans Oord). They serve breakfast to about 500 people each day (318 children, and 200 sickly/vulnerable adults) and 1,000 people receive dinner daily, 7 days per week.The partnership with FoodForward SA, especially through the provision of food parcels during the pandemic, has provided critical food relief for the vulnerable communities cared for by the Project. Since the start of the lock down they have served 110,000 meals.

According to Sher’Neil Savel, 9Miles co-founder, “FoodForward has been very responsive to our needs and their food provisions grew proportionally in an attempt to meet the huge demand during the pandemic. The speed of their reaction to the huge food crisis is truly commendable and they were a huge help to our Covid relief efforts. Aside from monthly food collections they also supported us with hamper supplies, to provide food parcels for the families in our communities and the food and fruit collections helped to meet the nutritional needs of our children and community members during the approaching cold season when their immunities needed to be strengthened.”

In line with the lockdown, the 9Miles Project suspended all youth programmes. Instead they have expanded their food programme to the entire community, 7 days per week. Given their extended support to the community, FoodForward SA’s food support currently does not fully cover their full demand, especially for bulk quantities of staples such as rice, samp, mealie meal and so they need to supplement these items purely due to the sheer number of people served on a daily basis.

Says Sher’Neil: “We really appreciate the support and care that FoodForward has shown, and the effort that the Cape Town staff always make to assist us. Their service excellence and hearts for people are really valued. FoodForward provides such a valuable service in reaching the most vulnerable who need the food now, more than ever!”