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Food Justice

HUNGER CRISIS FOOD FUND

SA Harvest and Lusikisiki celebrate R1.4m in donations from Daily Maverick readers

SA Harvest and Lusikisiki celebrate R1.4m in donations from Daily Maverick readers
Alan Browde, founder and CEO of SA Harvest, said donations from Daily Maverick readers will buy food that will feed hundreds of families over the next six weeks. (Picture: Joyrene Kramer)

SA Harvest CEO and founder Alan Browde confirmed this morning that Daily Maverick readers have donated an astonishing R1.4-million towards food for Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape.

‘We are celebrating,” Alan Browde, founder and CEO of SA Harvest, said this morning (Thursday) as donations from Daily Maverick readers closed in on R1.4-million for food in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape. 

“This will feed hundreds of families over the next six weeks,” Browde said. “It is a significant amount of food aid.” 

More than 400 families had already been vetted and were waiting for the truck to arrive with food parcels.

“This is very significant,” Browde said. “From my side this has been an unbelievably successful collaboration. It demonstrates the power of Daily Maverick and the absolute generosity of their readers.

“Feeding people has so many results. Hunger causes physical and mental devastation and in Lusikisiki many people have reached their limit,” he said. 

The blessing of providing nutrition is huge, he added. Children without food were listless, had low energy and were unable to concentrate. 

“Hopefully this will be the start of an ongoing programme.”

More than 400 Lusikisiki beneficiaries gathered at distribution points on Thursday morning to receive their Daily Maverick-sponsored festive season food parcels. (Photo: Supplied)

Browde said their food parcels have been packed with a starch, such as maize, but also tins of non-perishable food and proteins like pilchards, as well as fruit and vegetables. 

“Boxer stores pack the non-perishable food for us and we distribute it.”

He said they have a Lusikisiki-based team that identified recipients in need and have vetted them. 

“We distribute from certain points. We also make sure of absolute compliance – our teams get a picture or a signature for every food parcel distributed. Those who receive the food parcels need it, I can assure you.”

Dire situation

It is not easy to look hunger in the eye. It is even harder to be hungry. It strips people of their dignity and children of their potential to grow and flourish. Left unchecked, it kills. 

In South Africa, a country rich in resources and potential, it remains criminal that so many of our citizens go hungry. There is much we can do to help.

This holiday, countless children and their families will go hungry. 

Children who have relied on school feeding schemes will go without regular meals for the next few weeks. 

The situation is particularly dire in provinces such as the Eastern Cape.

SA Harvest food parcels

SA Harvest provides food parcels that can ensure balanced meals – this includes protein, vegetables and starch. (Photo: Supplied / SA Harvest)

Malnutrition

One in five South African households is food insecure – this means they do not know where their next meal will come from or when. The Eastern Cape, where almost one in three (32%) households is food insecure, is the worst affected. 

An investigation by the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) found that one in four children in the province is stunted due to malnutrition. 

Between 2021 and 2022, at least 1,000 children were diagnosed with severe acute malnutrition (a medical diagnosis), with 120 of them dying as a result. In a country of plenty, it is unthinkable that children are dying of hunger.

According to the Eastern Cape health department, between September 2022 and August 2023, there were 456 new cases of severe acute malnutrition in children under five and 91 deaths due to severe acute malnutrition in the OR Tambo District alone.

A previous campaign in KwaZulu-Natal where SA Harvest partnered with Boxer Superstores to provide food parcels. (Photo: Supplied / SA Harvest)

More than statistics

The human tragedy behind these numbers is told by Daily Maverick journalists Estelle Ellis and Hoseya Jubase:

Read more in Daily Maverick: Desperately poor Eastern Cape mom kills herself and three of her four children

Read more in Daily Maverick: Grandparents spend their pensions to feed entire families as food crisis hits hard in Eastern Cape

The SAHRC says child hunger in the Eastern Cape should be declared a disaster under the Disaster Management Act.

But this won’t help hungry families over the next few weeks. 

That’s why Daily Maverick is partnering with SA Harvest to raise R1-million to help feed the hungry in the Eastern Cape.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Take action to alleviate hunger: Daily Maverick holiday appeal

Over the past five years, SA Harvest has distributed tons of food and helped feed millions across the country. 

The company’s parcels contain nutritious food that is “rescued” from across the food supply chain and distributed to more than 200 vetted beneficiaries across the county.

SA Harvest COO Ozzy Nel explains that the company provides food that can make balanced meals – this includes protein, vegetables and starch. Food parcels usually consist of baked beans, canned pilchards, soya and mince, and vegetable curry. They also include flour, rice, maize meal, cooking oil and samp, and fresh vegetables such as potatoes, butternut and onions.

CEO Alan Browde adds: “To ensure the food lasts, we provide non-perishables, but even the vegetables will be able to last for quite a long time.”

SA Harvest has also partnered with small-scale farmers who contribute fresh produce to the food parcels. 

Your donation can keep hunger at the door

Browde says the Daily Maverick-SA Harvest project has the potential to provide a thousand needy families with food parcels that should last for two months.

SA Harvest calls on South Africans to donate so they can help alleviate hunger in Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape this festive season. (Photo: Supplied / SA Harvest)

Why SA Harvest?

The organisation has a dedicated team in Lusikisiki with a wide network of organisations ensuring that the food is received and distributed. Each food parcel is tracked. 

Nel explains: “We partner with local organisations that know who is in desperate need. These organisations are sometimes just one Gogo who cooks and dishes up food for the community, or sometimes a bigger organisation that can help distribute the food.”

SA Harvest plans to redistribute some of the food from their Durban branch, but they need funds to properly feed Lusikisiki. The funds raised will be used to buy extra goods, put fuel in the trucks that distribute the parcels and, if need be, hire extra truck drivers. 

Nel says SA Harvest has a digital tracking system that ensures the correct beneficiaries receive the food they need. This not only allows them to facilitate live tracking of all food parcels delivered, but also to collect essential information from recipients as they deliver the parcels.

Operations manager for SA Harvest in Lusikisiki, Vuyiswa Cele, says unemployment, high food prices and limited ways of making an income all contribute to the hunger crisis. He says a lot of families send children as young as eight to sell mielies, bananas or spinach in town. 

“The grandmothers get money from recycling … they can collect huge piles of plastic all week and only get R10. They wait from as early as 4am for a recycling truck that comes at 10am,” says Cele.

The limited income makes little difference since food is so expensive. Local retailers also charge extra for transporting produce to isolated rural areas. Cele says four onions could cost up to R40, while they were sold for R20 in Mthatha. 

SA Harvest has documented about 350 families from Bizana and Lusikisiki who don’t receive any grants or income to buy food. Cele says even the families that have a grant recipient are in dire need as one person’s pension could be supporting up to six people. 

“You should see the sad state when grandmothers sleep at the post office waiting for their pension. They wait in long lines … by the time they get it, they have been hungry for days,” says Cele.

Cele says she hopes the campaign succeeds because “people are always grateful for the relief when they receive the food. Sometimes I get emotional at handovers. People are overjoyed but also sad because they have been in a desperate situation for so long. This will change Christmas.”

The Lusikisiki team is asking for your help to provide a happier festive season for families in need.  

Donate here to help SA Harvest feed as many families as possible. 

Donation details:

SA Harvest NPC
Bank: FNB
Account Number: 62693490478
Branch Code: 255955. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Lets collectively attack this hunger scurge.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Yes everyone can help easily – by voting the ANC out of power.

    (Wont be in time for this Christmas sadly, but it is the surest way to put food on the tables of the poor)

  • Angie Joubert says:

    How much does one of those food parcels cost ?

  • rodneyb says:

    R1 000 buys a food parcel for a family of six lasting two months – as per the below article:
    https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/take-action-to-alleviate-hunger-daily-maverick-holiday-appeal/

  • Matthew Quinton says:

    SURE!!!

    I am 100% willing to put money into this, but I have ONE CONDITION.

    I want my food parcel wrapped in a DA printed wrapper and I want a letter which says

    “Merry Christmas, this food was purchased for you by a DA supporter”

    If you do that… I am willing to give you LOADS of cash.

    • Random Comment says:

      The Eastern Cape Province voted 69% in favour of the ANC at the last General Election (2019).
      (It was 70% in 2014).
      Stats from pmg dot org dot za
      I’ll wager that the support will not change significantly in 2023.

    • Clare Rothwell says:

      I donated some stuff locally and asked the organiser not to put my name on the social media pic. Then I saw a local ANC guy standing next to a pile of donations including mine : ( By all means go out and make donations with your DA T-shirt on!

  • Barrie King says:

    I am so glad I could contribute to such a cause. It sickens me to hear of such food insecurity while the fat cat cadres of the ANC loot & steal to their hearts’ content, totally oblivious to the poverty of the people who voted for them!!

  • Sydney Kaye says:

    Very well done.
    But doesn’t it underlined the absurdity of our so called government hypocritically crying crocodile tears over the shortage of food in Gaza while “our people” starve. Similarly we cant stop hearing about shortages of medicines and disfunctional hospitals . Where? In Gaza not in South Africa,. This is what happens when ideology takes over the brain and moral compass. On the other hand sticking it to the Jews with gestures and rhetoric is a lot easier than actually governing and solving self created problems

  • A Rosebank Ratepayer says:

    What is happening in Lusikisiki? From past research it has some of the best agricultural land in the whole of South Africa. Please will DM journalists do some proper investigative research into how this region has got into this state of affairs, and, therefore, what can be done to ensure this feeding scheme will not be necessary in the future. While not wanting to diminish the incredible efforts of this feeding initiative for one moment, clearly Christmas emergency feeding initiatives are not a sustainable path for the future.

    • Sqendu Qikili says:

      It has the best agricultural land indeed, there’s lack of investment. Agriculture as a sector is very capital intensive, it takes time and resources from planting till harvest.

    • Matthew Quinton says:

      You know EXACTLY what is happening in Lusikisiki Simon.

      I see comments about “lack of investment, need for assistance” etc etc.

      BS

      If you had a group of Afrikaans farmers RIGHT NOW, who pulled in there with nothing more than Ox wagons, their hard working families, some basic tools and a few bags of seed, they would have that area literally exploding with food production in less than a generation.

      But no amount of investment and no quantity of food parcels will address the reality that the residents of Luskikisiki just don’t have whatever it takes to farm successfully, not even for survival.

      All those food parcels will achieve is more breeding and even more hungry mouths next year.

      And before the woke brigade attacks me with the classic “OMG how prejudicial” response… please find just ONE example anywhere in South Africa where this isn’t the case… just ONE.

      The voortrekkers arrived with almost NOTHING and look what they built… I guarantee you the people of Luskikisiki have access to so much more than the old boers did… they just lack the work ethic and the attititude to actually do anything more than consume and cast a vote every 4 years.

  • Wilfred Walker says:

    Whilst agreeing with the sadness of the hunger situation in the Lusikisiki area, I find it unbelievable that an area blessed with some of the best soils and rainfall in the country could be facing starvation! What the hell has the Dept of Agriculture been up too that such a situation has arisen? I think some serious questions need to be answered, but then you get what you vote for. Keep going ANC and we’ll all be begging for food soon.

  • Manni Pillay says:

    Lets attack this hunger need together.

  • Sqendu Qikili says:

    This is short term. It is imperative that the private sector too invest in these areas especially in agriculture which is a long-term solution in both fronts with regards to fighting poverty and unemployment. The spin offs or multiplier effect is going to be great as the economic activity would improve too.

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    As a regular visitor to this stunning part of South Africa I’m always shocked and saddened at the levels of poverty and decay throughout the rural Eastern Cape. And then you see ANC-branded 4x4s cruising the potholed roads, bright, shiny and new and you know where the money goes and that the ANC hates ordinary South Africans. We simply have to rid the country of this parasitic elite.

  • David Stevenson Stevenson says:

    Will this be on going? We could pay by a routine debit.
    I would not like donations to be marked as by any political organization.

  • Barrie Lewis says:

    And when the six weeks is up?
    It’s been said that if you give a man a fish, you’ll be feeding him for the rest of his life. Teach him to fish and he’ll soon be able to care for himself and his family.
    If those food parcels included packets of say maize, spinach, radish, a susu and green bean seeds, probably costing less than R20 (we keep all our own seed), and a few lessons on how to grow food, no more donations would be necessary.
    The message needs to go out: “Don’t buy your food, don’t expect donations, grow it yourself.” Ask any gardener, it’s easy to grow mountains of food.

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