School’s food drive helps feed families

Staff and parents of Portavue Primary School pooled their resources to provide food parcels for those families at their school who have been hit hard by lockdown.

Staff at Portavue Primary in Greenhaven have started a food-donation drive to support school families who have lost their income because of the Covid19 lockdown.

Three weeks into the drive, the school, with the support of parents, now hands out up to 15 food parcels a day.

“We make sure that no child is left hungry,” said deputy principal

Shamima Lombard.

“Each needy family is assisted with a wholesome food parcel

daily. Our school is not part of the national feeding scheme for schools so we source our own donations. It is only due to the big hearts of some parents, family members of staff and staff themselves that we are able to do this.

“The project was born out of a pupil who had almost nothing to eat for four days. This project started with Grade 7 only. As the rest of our pupils returned to school, we soon discovered the need was greater. We know that we cannot teach a hungry child.

The project also aims to teach our children that sharing, acts of kindness and gratitude are values we live by.”

Principal Trevor da Rocha said they had realised how big the need was from a Western Cape Education Department (WCED) survey that had included questions on parents’ loss of income.

“We were shocked by the responses. The families we least expected were among those who were affected. The teachers brought food from home, and we started with the food parcels.

When we realised the need was greater, we sent out a letter to

parents and asked for assistance. It is an embarrassing thing for children, so we give the food parcels to the children, while maintaining their dignity. We also choose different families every week, so that we can reach as many as possible,” Mr Da Rocha said.

Kaashiefah Simons, one of the parents, said it was remarkable how the school helped those in need, even though it had its own problems, including lost school fees.

“It is remarkable how all the staff members are not just taking care of the pupils’ education, but their wellbeing and that of their families as well. They are practising such ubuntu, that it cannot go unnoticed,” Ms Simons said.

Staff and parents of Portavue Primary School pooled their resources to provide food parcels for those families at their school who have been hit hard by lockdown. Picture: Supplied