NGO serves food for needy

Food parcels have been handed out to assist the needy during the lockdown.

The Mustadafin Foundation is among those organisations that are still seeing to the nutritional needs of the poorest of the poor – even during lockdown.

Director Ghairunisa Johnstone-Cassiem said the organisation has a permit to operate during lockdown, however, food supplies are running low.

Mustadafin has been handing out food parcels since Friday March 27, as well as distributing two meals a day to areas such as Hanover Park, Manenberg, Belhar, Tafelsig, Kalksteenfontein, Khayelitsha, Mfuleni and Delft.

“We distributed 5 000 food parcels since Friday, and have fed about 1 000 people with a cooked meal as well. Our office in Bridgetown remains open, but most of our staff members are working from home. There are staff members who are currently living on the premises, to make things a bit easier,” Ms Johnstone-Cassiem said.

The food parcels that were handed out provide meals for eight days. Food supplies are running low, however, and Ms Johnstone-Cassiem said they need urgent assistance from the public. Money can be donated into the organisation’s bank account.

In Bonteheuwel, community activists took it upon themselves to assist needy families. The Bonteheuwel Development Forum (BDF) teamed up with the Omega home-based carers and street committees, and handed out food parcels to more than 200 families.

Founder of the BDF, Henriette Abrahams, said she could not just sit back and watch how the most vulnerable must suffer even more during lockdown.

For this reason she reached out to friends and residents of Bonteheuwel to assist.

“All this was privately-funded. I reached out and asked for help. Some people donated as little as R10, and with the funds we raised, we managed to buy flour, rice, lentils, beans, gloves and soap. We also put an educational pamphlet in the food parcel so that the community can be aware how to protect themselves. Some people had nothing in their homes and most were waiting for their social grant payments. We are hoping more people out there will adopt our community, as we would like to be able to give the food parcels once a week, for the duration of the lockdown,” Ms Abrahams said.

She said if people have food at home, then there would be no need for them to be on the roads in search of their next meal.

When asked if they have a permit to do this work, Ms Abrahams said it is for this reason that they have partnered with Omega, which has a permit to do essential work.

“There is very little contact between people. We make the food parcels under the strictest health regulations, and Omega helps us to get to the people who need it the most. The difficulty we have, is that people want to buy online and have the food delivered to my address to support this initiative, but all the retailers do not deliver in areas such as Bonteheuwel. Now we send someone to collect, or people make donations using electronic fund transfers (EFTs) or they use eWallet. I have to reiterate though that our contact is very minimal.”

If you would like to assist the Mustadafin Foundation, call 021 633 0010 or email ghairunisa@mustadafin.org.za

To assist the Bonteheuwel Development Forum, contact Ms Abrahams on 076 378 3842.