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Feeding the future in Howick – now!

Youth Day initiative

An Angels' Care Centre child is fitted with a face mask. Picture by Dan Grinwis

This year the Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund has chosen to support restaurants impacted by Covid-19, including those working off-site or who have reopened kitchens to feed communities in need.

The Jackie Cameron Culinary School Outlet  was recently awarded a substantial donation and with it chose to support Thembelihle School and Angels’ Care Centre in Howick, the KZN Midlands, to receive meals through Feeding The Future.

1,400 children

On June 19, 2020, to commemorate National Youth Day, the Feeding The Future team fed more than 1400 children from these two schools to not only ensure that future leaders received the necessary nutrition they need; but to also provide hope for children and families who live in informal settlements and rural settings that are among the millions of South Africans being pushed into poverty due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thanks to Feeding The Future – a partnership between three women from KwaZulu-Natal – the intention is to continue feeding children daily in the Howick region based on the support of sponsors like Eat Out Restaurant, Wonderbag Foundation, Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine students, the Do More Foundation and Thembelihle School and Angel Care Centre donors.

The Feeding the Future founders. Picture: Michelle Engelbrecht

Feeding The Future was formed in 2018 when Wonderbag founder Sarah Collins, award-winning Chef Jackie Cameron and scientist and educator Dr Carolyn “Coo” Hancock launched an initiative to support impoverished communities through food. The programme brings people together to eat a nutritious meal, but to also engage with each other and experts to address key social issues.

Collins says, “We want to feed all the children at Thembelihle School and Angels’ Care Centre, giving them a daily hot meal cooked in Wonderbags. Secondly, we aim to educate, support and empower women in the Shyias informal settlement where many of the children live. We do this through the subsidising of Wonderbags and providing them with recipes formulated by the Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine so they can create affordable and nutritious meals.

Time for some fun and games at Angels’ Care Centre. Picture: Dane Turvey

“At the same time, we will enhance the outreach programmes started by Carolyn at Angels Care by introducing additional professionals in medical and social work to engage with and educate the communities on key topics such as rape, child abuse, domestic violence, prevention and control of chronic diseases including Aids, TB, diabetes and various forms of substance abuse.

She continued: “All this will make an incredible difference in the lives of these children and their wider families. We are so grateful to Eat Out Restaurant Relief Fund for their generous donation and we challenge other businesses, businessmen and women and affluent individuals to help us sustain this programme and grow it across the country.

“By better equipping these communities to care for themselves and their children, we can break the cycle of poverty and lift women to a position of economic freedom.”

Kids line up, observing the Covid-19 protocols, as they prepare to accept a meal as part of the Feeding the Future programme. Picture: Dan Grinwis

In addition to their “Feeding The Future” collaboration, Collins, Cameron and Hancock work separately on issues such as hunger, early childhood education, leadership, economic empowerment and the safety of women and children. Collins is known internationally as a social entrepreneur, activist, change-maker and founder of the revolutionary Wonderbag. She is passionate about empowering women and alleviating poverty and has been responsible in uplifting communities throughout Africa through the Wonderbag.

KZN dairy farmers dig in to assist in hunger battle

Hancock is one of SA’s leading experts in the science of genetics and has been instrumental in working to change South African national legislation and develop numerous educational programmes to ensure the effective use of DNA to address unacceptably high levels of violent crime and sexual assault. She spearheaded and oversees Thembelihle School for underprivileged children in Howick. She is also chairperson of Angels’ Care Centre that offers nutritional, educational, health and social services to vulnerable children in the greater Howick area.

Taking hand sanitising precautions in light of the Covid-19 pandemic at Thembelihle School. Picture: Dane Turvey

Cameron is one of South Africa’s top chefs, who after a star-studded career in some of the top restaurants across the world, realised her dream to tutor aspiring chefs at her culinary school in Hilton. A two-year relationship with Feeding The Future opened Cameron’s eyes to the desperate need of some of the country’s citizens.

Alternative educational journey

“This lockdown period has been an exciting learning curve, a time during which I have had the opportunity to take my students on an alternative educational journey,” she says, adding that together they have packed and sent out food parcels to help alleviate the pain of hunger.

Midlands-based butchery giant steps in to aid in hunger battle

“The students have been exposed to the dire need of some folk – and we have all been involved in making a difference. I’m confident this experience will live with them forever and that they will continue reaching out wherever they can,” she said.

THEMBELIHLE SCHOOL
This is a non-profit organisation that is committed to provide holistic, quality education to young children from disadvantaged areas in the Howick region, KZN.

The school currently caters for Grades RRR – Grade 7 (4-14 years) and educates about 400 children. The school ensures all children receive a wholesome meal daily. This environment gives vulnerable children access to world-class education. It enriches them by promoting academic, spiritual, emotional and physical growth.

ANGELS’ CARE SCHOOL
Angels’ Care Centre is a non-profit organistion that provides for the optimal growth and development of children to seek long-term solutions to issues related to their living in poverty. It has a pre-school for 75 children aged 3-6 years plus it has a small bridging class for 10 children who have never had access to schooling. It also serves as a youth development facility for school children requiring homework assistance, support groups for teens and sporting programmes.

All 130 children receive a meal before returning home every school day. The centre also runs a weekly feeding programme for about 350 children.

There is a Crisis Centre to help child victims of gender-based violence, abuse and neglect.

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