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Midlands-based butchery giant steps in to aid hunger fight

Community members receive food donations from the #EskortCares initiative.

Eskort, the processed pork products company with its home at Estcourt in the Midlands, is responding to the Covid-19 crisis by donating R1 million worth of food parcels to communities surrounding its factories and butchery outlets in SA.

Having started in May and up to August, Eskort will distribute 6,000 much-needed care packages to thousands of South Africans facing nutritional food risk, which will include food products donated by farmers.

Each food parcel provides meals which include 2kg of French polony, fresh vegetables sourced from local farmers, 5kg of maize flour and soup or gravy powder.

Essential service

According to Eskort, research indicates that more than 30% of households in townships are facing the prospect of not having any food for an entire day, and the supply of food parcels has become the most essential service required among these citizens.

Soup kitchens and meals provided for children during the Covid-19 crisis are also helping to feed millions of vulnerable people in South Africa, whose misery is being heightened by the extreme cold of a (thus far) very frigid winter.

The lack of employment during the early phases of lockdown heightened the difficulties for many South Africans who rely on “piece work” and informal jobs, along with those who were employed in trades such as health and beauty, the restaurant industry, travel and hospitality, and were unable to work.

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Arnold Prinsloo, CEO at Eskort Limited notes that every employee is “part of the Eskort family and community”. “It is for this reason, and the dire situation faced by many families within our communities, that we are empowering all our employees across our manufacturing facilities situated in Heidelberg and Estcourt and Eskort Butchery retail outlets to distribute food hampers directly within their communities, to those households which are in desperate need.”

Members of the Eskort team with food products that will form part of food parcels.

According to the company, “Each food parcel distributed through the #EskortCares Covid Food Feeding Scheme provides up to 50 meals – or a total of 300,000 meals over the period. Contents include 2kg of Eskort’s French Polony, fresh vegetables sourced from local farmers, 5kg of maize flour and 500g of soup or gravy powder.”

Reduce the burden

“These are very difficult times for all, and it is with a sense of duty that we help reduce as far as possible, the burden of those struggling economically due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” concludes Prinsloo.

Farming communities in KwaZulu-Natal and the Midlands have heeded the call to help those in need during the Covid crisis, including school children who used to get a wholesome, nutritious meal at school but who have now been at home for months due to the lockdown. Some of the rural communities we have written about include Umngeni (Howick), Sezela area of the South Coast, Underberg, Dargle, Nottingham Road, Rietvlei and Mooi River.

A sense of duty, compassion, empathy and the rise of volunteerism during lockdown has seen a surge in community involvement.

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