Feeding the hungry on World Hunger Day

Justin Herselman watched by Stephanie Rimenyande and Jacky Mushimiyimana at Meal on Wheels, Plumstead.

With the third Covid-19 wave looming and inflation jumping to 4.4% in April from 3.2% in March, the need remains for feeding schemes.

“Everyone deserves to eat” is the theme for World Hunger Day celebrated annually on May 28 since 2011.

The Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA) has been feeding hungry schoolchildren for 63 years.

According to spokesman Charles Grey, they had to suspend their programmes in schools during lockdown and instead provided 500 000 food parcels to accredited community kitchens.

The association has also missed out on its biggest fund-raiser for two years, the annual Blisters for Bread fun walk.

“Hunger and malnutrition prevent the disadvantaged children on our feeding programme from learning. This leads to a lifetime of damage and continuation of the cycle of poverty – for the child, our society and our nation,” said Mr Grey.

Westlake Primary School is one of the association’s 125 recipients. Acting principal Jodi Dawson said the warm meals served at the school were the only food many of their pupils had all day. Unemployment was very high in the community, she added.

“People queue at the door asking to sweep the floors for money to put food on the table,” she said.

Apart from food, the association pays a monthly stipend to the school to pay for two parents from the community, preferably with children at the school, who cook the meals.

According to Mr Grey, each breakfast and lunch costs the association R2.75, at R495 per child each year, and they always need donations of food.

Western Cape Education Department spokesperson Bronagh Hammond said schools were re-opened in Alert Level 5 in April last year to feed pupils on the National School Nutrition Programme. Westlake Primary is not one of these 1 011 schools but has its own feeding programme.

Ms Hammond said the meals encouraged pupils to arrive early for school and stay in school. “It allows children to focus on their studies rather than their stomachs and helps to increase school enrolment and attendance, decrease drop-out rates, and improve cognitive abilities.”

Meals on Wheels in Plumstead celebrated World Hunger Day on Tuesday May 25 by cooking up a batch of chicken stew to deliver to the elderly in Lavender Hill. Secretary of the NPO, Judith Martin, said the need for food is still great but not as much as during lockdown. The NPO delivers meals to the disadvantaged elderly in their own homes (“Crash leaves meals without wheels,” Bulletin February 25). They have one chef, two assistants and volunteers who help prepare the meals, package and deliver them.

Ms Martin said more recently they had received a cry for help from seniors who can no longer go to the shops or cook or their families live too far away. They also get calls for help from people who can no longer help their parents.

The Naruna Estate Residents’ Association, a registered non-profit, continues to feed fellow tenants who are struggling to put food on the table because of the pandemic (“Still feeding the needy in Naruna Estate,” Bulletin March 11).

“Most of them are poor and elderly and others are living in the streets in the area,” said deputy chairwoman of the association, Beverley Strong.

They serve 80 to 100 meals on Sundays from Ms Strong’s front gate close to Churchill Park.

Contact Meals on Wheels at 021 761 2443, or plumstead@mealsonwheels.org.za; the Peninsula School Feeding Association at 021 447 6020 or info@psfa.org.za; and Naruna Estate Residents’ Association at 074 341 8252.

At Westlake Primary School, Virginia “Gogo” Afrikaaner, Abieda “Auntie B” Isaacs and Elizabeth “Auntie Lisa” Koeberg stir the pot.
Jacky Mushimiyimana and Stephanie Rimenyande at Meals On Wheels, Plumstead.
Sardieka Beukes and Shireen Ganga at Meals On Wheels, Plumstead.
The Naruna Estate Residents’ Association provides food for 80 to 100 people in the community.