Shoprite donates over R11 million in surplus food to distressed communities
The Shoprite Group has since the start of the lockdown donated surplus food valued at more than R11 million to over 230 vetted non-governmental organisations (NGOs), providing 3.7 million meals for the growing number of hungry South Africans.
It also partnered with its customers to raise more than R3.1 million via its in-store Act For Change Fund collection facility for the Solidarity Fund in aid of the most vulnerable during this crisis.
The surplus food beneficiaries have all reported a marked increase in the number of people in distress due to wide-scale loss of income as a result of the lockdown.
One such organisation, Randburg-based Nosh Food Rescue, has since the lockdown began, seen the number of charities it supplies increase from 32 to 51 organisations. “We have been able to scale up partly due to the donations we receive from our 15 Checkers partner stores throughout Gauteng,” says Hanneke van der Linge, the organisation’s Managing Director.
Nosh diverts, repurposes and redistributes prepared and perishable surplus food, and has provided over 50 000 meals to soup kitchens and feeding schemes over the past 5 years. “We recently achieved the significant milestone of distributing 31 500 cooked meals since the start of lockdown. This is in addition to the food hampers our partner organisations distribute daily,” adds Van der Linge.
“Before the lockdown, we used to serve 665 people with two meals daily. Nowadays we deliver food parcels to over 900 households,” says Scelo Bophela, director of the Masisizane Service Centre in Inanda, KwaZulu-Natal.
Established in 2006, the centre cares for families affected by HIV/Aids, looks after the elderly and offers youth programmes. Its relationship with Checkers stretches back more than three years and in addition to collecting from Checkers Cornubia and Overport, it recently also started receiving fresh produce from the Group’s Freshmark distribution centre in Verulam.
“The fresh vegetables are heaven-sent because now those living with HIV/Aids in our community can take their medication having had a nutritious meal. The donations help us very much and we are very grateful to Checkers for its support during these difficult times,” concludes Bophela.
The Ark City of Refuge outside Cape Town feeds 1 200 people each day, with three quarters of their beneficiaries receiving three daily meals. On its premises in Faure is a school, shelter for the homeless, creche and drug rehabilitation centre.
“As a faith-based organisation, we are wholly dependent on donations. We collect food from one Checkers and three Shoprite stores every day. These regular food donations mean we can continue to provide the nutritious meals our people have come to depend on daily,” says Vasti Bailey, secretary of the Ark City of Refuge Management Board.
The Group also has a sustainable hunger relief programme in place to address the problem of food scarcity in the long-term. Since 2015 it has partnered with more than 100 community gardens and 347 home gardens across all 9 provinces to the benefit of more than 23 000 people.