Mandela Day munch more than a mouthful
More than 300 000 meal packs were made by hundreds of volunteers who rolled up their sleeves to pack food for underprivileged East London children for a whole year, through the Stop Hunger Now campaign, a Nelson Mandela Day initiative.
The number exceeded the initial target by 50% and calculations of how many children would be fed, could not be established at the time of writing yesterday evening.
Hemingways Mall marketing manager Estee Roos said the accomplishment had been made possible by the 880 volunteers and Interact clubs from Beaconhurst School and Cambridge Schoo
“It was an honour to host something of this magnitude and we have broken a national record in East London. The record for the most food parcels collected in 67 minutes was broken during the first 10am session by a mixed group, when they packed 28 boxes in 67 minutes.”
The campaign was officially launched by Mandla Mandela at the Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth on Saturday.
Mandela said the campaign had started with 48000 food parcels packed on Saturday alone at the Boardwalk.
“It was off to a good start and a lot of hands have gathered to make the work light.”
The campaign, which exceeded its target of feeding one million children last year, raised the bar this year and aims to feed 10 million children in seven countries.
Stop Hunger Now South Africa CEO Saira Khan, who was at the Hemingways Mall where the campaign saw hundreds of people and corporate companies give 67 minutes of their time to pack food parcels, said the aim of the campaign was not only to feed children as a once-off but to make the project self-sufficient so that it could run continuously.
“We have aspired to follow the sun and as you know the sun is visible everywhere and stops nowhere. That is what we want for the campaign.
“We have 56000 beneficiaries from the project, but we would not have reached that at all if we did not have the partnerships we have formed. Not only are we relying on volunteers who are making production easier for us, but there are man y other NGOs which we are working with.”
Stop Hunger Now president Rod Brooks commended Saira for her drive as she continued to push the limits trying to feed the world.
Twenty pupils and two teachers from Beaconhurst School volunteered their time to make a difference.
Lynette van Greunen said the school’s Interact Club and prefects had jumped at the opportunity to do their part.
“So many times you always want to do something to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate, but you never really know where to start. This is a great way of offering one’s services.”
Sophumelele development centre also had a team of people taking part in the drive.
“We are so used to being on the receiving end of charity work, getting donations of food or clothes, so we all decided to take time to give back,” said Evie Branfield, Sophumelela’s development officer.
Regional manager Ruth Troskie at Bigen Africa which prides itself on “doing good, while doing business”, said they felt right at home with the campaign. “It’s what we live by and not taking part was just not an option.
East London resident Babsie Wessels said she had decided to make the campaign a family affair.
“I am here with my family and we want to use this opportunity to show our children to give their time to help others and remember that not everybody is as fortunate as they are, so when they can, they must do something about that.