Three former Daily Dispatch local heroes nominees have been given thousands of meal packs to enable them continue as beacons of hope in their communities.
The initiative is a partnership between Hemingways Mall and the international Stop Hunger Now project.
For the past few weeks the local heroes have received the meal packs, which they will use to feed needy members of their communities.
During a 67 Minutes for Mandela Day event last year, more than 1000 East London volunteers packed 30096 meal packs, which can feed more than 300000 children or more than 180000 adults in total.
Each pack consists of rice, soup mix, soya, and a vitamin sachet.
Nonkosi Ntombe, Rachel Minter, and Nomfuneko Salaze, who all run NGOs in East London, were the local hero beneficiaries of the Stop Hunger Now initiative, which also distributed packs to other NGOs.
Salaze, from Stutterheim, feeds residents from five different villages.
She said that with the help of the meal packs she had grown from feeding 60 people to 100 a day.
“The packs looks small, but they go a long way in feeding members of my community,” Salaze said.
“The bigger quantities enable us to provide people with a nutritious, filling meal, and we are now planning to feed 400 people every week.
Minter and her husband Joshua run a soup kitchen at the Stoney Drift rubbish dump that feeds more than 200 people every day.
“The meal packs came at a perfect time for us. A lot of people here were wilting away because of hunger and malnutrition, and the meals, added with vegetables from our garden, provide communities members who otherwise would go hungry with a meal that improves their quality of life,” she said.
Ntombe, owner of New Start Day Care centre in Bhongweni location, said the 55 children she fed every day were now healthier and happier.
“I can now provide my children with a full meal… I wish this initiative doesn’t come to an end.”
The meal packs are expected to sustain the beneficiaries until July.
Stop Hunger Now national operations manager Brian Nell said: “There is still a great need for food, and this opportunity allows us to make a lasting difference in the lives of South Africans.”
Hemingways Mall marketing manager Estee Roos said: “These 300000 meals are just a drop in the ocean. There’s still more to be done to impact the lives of those who need it most.” — firstname.lastname@example.org