For many South Africans, hunger is a daily reality, as escalating unemployment and rising inflation result in less food on the table for some the most disadvantaged people. Often this means that our children go to school on empty tummies. Many can go for weeks without a proper meal.
This July, Liberty Midlands Mall has joined forces with Stop Hunger and The Community Chest to participate in the “Stop Hunger Now” project to try and change this sad reality.
This year, hosted under the theme “Follow the Sun”, the Mandela Day meal packaging event has gone global with volunteers in Malaysia, India, Italy, Philippines and the USA joining South Africa to provide meals for children especially in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) sector. They are the most vulnerable to lifelong health and development problems resulting from poor nutrition during their formative years.
In 2016, the event has also been extended to a week of meal packaging to honour the Madiba Legacy of making every day a Mandela Day.
What is now known as “Stop Hunger Now International” is setting out to package 10 million meals between 13th and 20th July 2016, and the PMB branch is aiming to pack 300 000 meals.
Liberty Midlands Mall is partnering this project and has already pledged to donate R100 000 to this wonderful initiative. The teams comprising Centre Management staff and tenant volunteers will pack meals for 67 minutes.
Liberty Midlands Mall is also appealing to other businesses in the area to join them and participate in the Mandela Week Stop Hunger Campaign.
Companies can support the event by sponsoring R10 000 per team of 20 people who then participate with many other corporate volunteers and individuals contributing to supporting Early Childhood Development Facilities with meals for a year. The cost covers the ingredients and packaging of these meals. Individuals are asked to donate R500 or any contribution that is possible towards this worthy cause.
“We are calling for individuals, small to medium businesses and corporates to come on board. Many of those who visit malls to stock up on groceries don’t even think about the prospect of not having a meal at the end of the day. Most of us don’t realize that this is a major crisis in South Africa,” says Muhammad Varachia, General Manager, Liberty Midlands Mall.
A five-year study by the University of Cape Town’s African Food Security Unit Network recently showed that 77% of all households in South Africa are either moderately or severely food insecure. Conservative estimates are that more than 12 million South Africans go to bed hungry every night. In KZN we have 1.3 m children in the 0-6 year old category. 1m of these live in poverty and 492, 000 live in food poverty.
According to Saira Khan, CEO of Stop Hunger Now SA, about 3.1 million children face chronic hunger in South Africa. “We have to do more to ensure that they obtain good nutrition. It is not just hunger eradication but also ensuring that the meals provided are nutritionally balanced to support growth. It gives me great pleasure to honour Nelson Mandela internationally in this manner by focusing on children who were very close to his heart. We thank our existing donors and look forward to their ongoing support this year,” she says.
For more information as well as details on how to register, please contact Ursuhla on 083 611 7733 or Angie on 033 394 1031