FoodForward SA launches Mobile Rural Depot model in Worcester

In an effort to provide greater access to food for vulnerable groups in rural areas, FoodForward SA has launched its Mobile Rural Depot model. Beneficiary organisations based in Worcester, Robertson, Ashton, Montague and Swellendam districts are the first to benefit, and will now be able to receive much-needed nutritious food monthly.

The 18th of June saw the launch of the FoodForward SA rural depot model in Worcester, a town nestled in the Hex River Valley, about 150km outside of Cape Town. The occasion was marked with an informal reception that saw about thirty representatives of beneficiary organisations and the agricultural industry in attendance.

Managing Director Andy Du Plessis explains how the project came to be:

Our foodbanking model has been primarily urban-based and we have been looking at ways that we could serve people better in the more vulnerable rural districts as well.  

We currently have 11 beneficiary organisations in the Worcester and surrounding areas, and we are working to expand that number in line with our five-year growth plan.  

With the success of our Second Harvest programme, which sources agricultural surplus directly from farmers, our trucks were making more frequent trips to the Hex River Valley area. We realised that we could expand our support to rural beneficiary organisations if we scheduled delivery of their monthly food to them, to coincide with our Second Harvest collections. This also allows us to unlock other organisations doing good work in distant areas that can now apply for food support.

Through this programme, we hope to make sure that good quality surplus food is made more widely available to rural community organisations, and also hope to grow the amount of food that we are able to source through Second Harvest.

We have numerous processes in place at our warehouses to make sure that what goes out to beneficiary organisations is good quality food.  It is important to us that we serve our BO’s with pride and dignity.

The National Institute for the Deaf has graciously agreed to offer their premises as the depot for the Worcester and surrounding districts. They are a new beneficiary organisation, with beautifully maintained premises and a strong track record of offering support services and skills to deaf and hearing impaired people. We are proud to be partnering with them and thank them for their support of this project.

Following the successful rollout of the Worcester rural depot, we will be establishing further rural depots in the Overberg, in Pietermaritzburg (KZN), and other vulnerable rural communities across the country.