‘It’s an invisible disaster’: Gift of the Givers food parcels, soup kitchens help prevent lockdown hunger

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— Ivan Meyer (@ivan2meyer) April 17, 2020

The Gift of the Givers’ Kazi said the coronavirus pandemic was on a scale not seen by many generations.

“Most disasters have parameters,” said Kazi.

Used to fires or floods where triaging is clear, and there is an end in sight, he explained that careful planning with available food supplies, and making sure that food prices didn’t rise, would be vital during the pandemic.

“You and I don’t know, even the experts don’t know, when it’s going to begin, and end,” he said, urging people to stay indoors to avoid the feared spike in infections seen in the US and Italy.

Badr Kazi

Gift of the Givers’ Badr Kazi (Jenni Evans, News24)

In between coordinating deliveries of the packets of oil, flour, rice, jam, long-life milk, and even a little packet of strawberry biscuits for a rare treat, project manager Ali Sablay said the generosity of the South African public to people who were battling had been incredible. 

“We could see during this lockdown period the spirit of ubuntu overflowing in our country,” said Sablay.

“And we would like to thank all South Africans for playing a role in this.” 

Gift of the Givers

Gift of the Givers’ project director Ali Sablay co-ordinating the Cape Town leg of a nationwide food parcel programme for families hit by the coronavirus lockdown (Jenni Evans, News24)

Among the donors were the Groblers from Kirstenbosch, who raised R62 000 by getting sponsorship for a round-the-clock cycling marathon on their indoor bicycle. 

Daughter Georgia, a food science student, came up with the idea and roped in her mother Wendy, IT expert brother Matthew – who is working from home to keep his company’s networks up and running  – and orthopedic surgeon dad Garth who had to cancel all surgeries during the lockdown. 

Speaking through a shweshwe fabric mask at the distribution point, Georgia said: “We were overwhelmed with the amount of support that we got.” 

Gift of the Givers

Student Georgia Grobler and her father Garth – the family raised R62 000 to donate to Gift of the Givers by doing a sponsored cyclathon in their house. Garth is an orthopedic surgeon and has to cancel all surgeries. (Jenni Evans, News24)

ANC MP Faiez Jacobs, also volunteering at the distribution site, held his hands as if in prayer and extended his gratitude to everybody donating food for the hungry.

He said there had been controversy over food parcels, and that food security was a very emotive issue, so seeing the food ready to go out was a relief. 

“We are calling on the patience of the poor especially, and we are calling on the generosity of the rich so that we can help each other. We are all in this pandemic together.”

A Mitchells Plain ward councillor, Bongani Ngcani, told News24 that after the Tafelsig protests, lists of beneficiaries had been compiled and they had met with Mayor Dan Plato, and that a clearer plan on how to distribute food had been drawn up.

However, they also had to navigate the permits required to actually deliver the food, so recipients were urged to be patient.  

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