’Plain schools receive food assistance

Wavecrest Primary pupil Nehemia Osstendorp with his food hamper.

Feed the Nation Foundation continues to provide much-needed assistance to child-headed households across the country, with the most recent delivery of food hampers to schools in the Mitchell’s Plain area.

Recently deliveries were made to Harvester Primary School in Westridge, Wavecrest and Caradale primary schools in Rocklands, Princeton Technical High School in Woodlands and Beacon Hill High School in Beacon Valley.

Many pupils at Wavecrest Primary School rely on the school’s feeding scheme for their main, and sometimes only, meal of the day. The school does its best to provide beyond the means of its feeding scheme where possible.

At Caradale Primary School pupils are in a similar predicament, with most of the school’s pupils being dependent on the school’s feeding scheme for food. The school started a food garden to supplement its feeding scheme and does whatever it can to feed its young pupils.

At Beacon Hill High School in Beacon Valley, parents and guardians braved the cold and wet weather to gather in the school hall to collect the much-needed sustenance for their families.

A child-headed household often has a living parent or guardian, but is without parental care or income, which means the child is forced to assume the parental role of supporting the household.

Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, transformation director at Pick n Pay and trustee of Feed the Nation Foundation, says the need to support vulnerable families is greater now than ever, as communities are faced with the economic aftermath of the pandemic.

“There are many instances where teenagers are running a home while still attending school or working,” she said. “We’ve even come across incidents where children as young as 9 are having to support a 4-year-old sibling.”

Each food hamper is valued at over R500 and comprises essential grocery items such as maize meal, rice, soup mix, flour, soya mince, cooking oil, salt and soap and fresh vegetables, and is expected to provide food support for a family of four for up to one month.

In what started out as the Feed the Nation campaign, Feed the Nation Foundation has provided over

30 million meals in the form of food hampers to date, in partnership with funders, Pick n Pay customers, suppliers and welfare organisations. This collective effort has not only helped feed schoolchildren – shelters, aged-care facilities, orphanages and other vulnerable communities have also benefited during what has become an ongoing crisis.

By the end of this round of deliveries, the third initiative over the past year to provide food assistance to child-headed households, over 15 000 families nationally will have received food hampers, to a total value of more than R8 million.

“We continue to urge customers to join us in feeding the nation. A donation of just R21 at till points at any Pick n Pay store will help feed someone one meal a day for a week,” said Ms Ackerman-Berman.