With an estimated 30 million South Africans requiring food in the midst of the Coronavirus crisis, the scale of the challenge is daunting. As a direct result of its partnership with The Solidarity Fund, South Africa’s largest national food redistribution organisation, FoodForward SA has successfully delivered 86 500 food parcels to vulnerable households experiencing severe food insecurity across South Africa in the last ten days.
In the coming weeks, and as part of its normal operations, FoodForward SA will prepare between 150,000 to 250,000 food parcels each month, reaching over 1 million vulnerable people and initiating large-scale feeding programmes where the need is greatest. Each food parcel, consisting of a variety of non-perishable groceries and fresh produce, provides a family with food essentials for three to four weeks (depending on household size).
To date, and after announcing the launch of its R50million Appeal to respond to the growing food security crisis resulting from the protracted lock down, FoodForward SA has received R28 million in funds and R40 million food support, enabling it to redistribute food to thousands more households in the coming months. The organisation has increased its’ beneficiary organisation network from 670 to 1005 and will also shortly be in a position to extend its food support into the Limpopo Province to provide greater access to vulnerable households there, and collect surplus fresh produce from farmers in that region to increase the nutritional value of the food parcels to at-risk households.
Says FoodForward SA Managing Director, Andy Du Plessis, “As a member of the global banking networking, FoodForward SA remains committed to increasing its’ impact while ensuring that everything we do is transparent, measurable, and within our governance requirements and standard operating procedures. While we have nearly doubled our beneficiary network we ensure efficacy and minimise the risk of corruption by verifying that all food parcels reach their intended recipients. Our beneficiary organisations are required to provide proof of recipient food parcel delivery by recording the name, physical address, identity and cell-phone numbers of each recipient, which we then verify.”
Based on FoodForward SA’s robust and national distribution network, it is one of the few food redistribution agencies in the country that has the capacity to manage large-scale food parcel distribution to remote corners of South Africa. Last year, FoodForward SA distributed 5,115 tons of food, providing recipients with 20 million meals.
“Over the years, we have built a resilient and complex supply, storage and redistribution chain,” explains Du Plessis. “Our cold-chain logistics network collects procured, purchased and collected food from our agricultural and retail partners, sorting and redistributing it via our registered and vetted beneficiary network.”
The organisation’s FoodShare digital platform also seamlessly connects beneficiary organisations to major retail partners local stores, including Woolworths, Food Lover’s Market and Pick n Pay, to direct surplus food to those areas that need it most. “This helps our suppliers reduce wastage, and they receive a section 18a tax certificate for their donation. Plus, there is an environmental benefit. With over a third of all food produced in South Africa being dumped in landfill, every ton of food recovered by FoodForward SA removes four tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere,” concludes Du Plessis.
Corporate and Foundation donors that have contributed directly to FoodForward SA’s R50million Appeal include, and are not limited to Investec, Old Mutual, Old Mutual Staff Volunteer Fund Trust, Pepsico, Hyundai, Engen, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, Standard Bank, and the Global Foodbanking Network.