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Making sure hungry children get school meals when school is closed

As children across South Africa celebrated the fact that schools were closing early for the Easter holidays because of the Covid-19 pandemic, many other youngsters’ hearts would have sunk because it meant they would miss their school lunch, which for many is the only square meal they get all day.

It was for this reason that Mariska Redelinghuys, 10X Investments’ head of legal and the lead on the company’s corporate social investment efforts, contacted the Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA) to ask if they needed extra support at this time.

The association said it was working on a solution to continue feeding children while the schools were closed. The cost was expected to be an additional R40 per child (R2.50 per day for the extra 16 days children would not be attending school).

10X Investments, which has worked with PSFA before, made a R20,000 donation towards this cause, which means that 500 needy children get their lunches even though they are not attending school. The company also made it easy for employees to make additional personal contributions to the PSFA by deducting pledges from their salary at month-end.

Making it through the crisis: Workers at Jabulani Community Feeding Centre in Parkwood, Lotus River, feed children a hot meal.

The feeding association later wrote to Redelinghuys with details of the plan they had made in response to the state of disaster in South Africa declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa in a bid to slow the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The PSFA said they would be providing ingredients for a nutritious cooked lunch to be prepared daily and served to children affected by poverty at various community kitchens in the greater Cape Town area. The PFSA confirmed they had managed to keep the additional cost of bringing their service to the children in their communities down to an additional R40 per child, or R2.50 a day for 16 days.

Taking no chances: Workers at the Jabulani Community Feeding Centre in Parkwood, Lotus River, prepare to serve a meal to children. They are wearing masks and gloves to protect against passing on or contracting the corona virus.

President Ramaphosa’s second announcement in response to Covid-19 on March 23 imposing a 21-day lockdown on the whole of South Africa presented the PSFA with a new set of logistical difficulties. The angels who staff this association are working around the clock still and are confident they will find a way to get meals and/or food parcels to children in need.

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