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Midlands community goes BIG to support food relief

Lending a hand during isolation

Pic: African Spirit/ Umngeni Relief Network on Facebook

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to place an immense burden on every sector of society, of deep concern is the vast number of households without access to food and basic essentials.

This situation can be expected to worsen in the coming weeks and months, generally, as more people face being laid off and could run out of contingency funding.

A network set up to assist struggling community members in a collective way has been set up in the uMngeni area.

The Umngeni Relief Network states: “We must act now as a collective to ensure human life is preserved and the vulnerable cared for.”

The network says it was established to see this vision achieved, playing a co-ordinating role between accredited and permitted NPOs, the private sector and branches of government across the municipality. Its aim is “to ensure food parcels are distributed to those in need in a systematic and accountable fashion. The network has established a central warehouse and distribution centre to receive donations from local farmers and food aid from local businesses.”

Co-ordinator Matt Hogarty said food parcels, 5000 of which have already been delivered across 12 wards in the past two weeks, would continue to be packaged and distributed from the distribution centre via an organised distribution network of NPOs in conjunction with local government structures.

The network noted that everyone is encouraged to get involved: “If you are supporting a local NPO and its feeding scheme, please continue to do so. Those who would like to get involved in this co-ordinated approach, please consider the following options.”

How you can get involved:
1. Just donate cash
2. Buy a food parcel for R100;
3. Donate goods
(The banking details are included on the flyer below)
Contact details: umngenireliefnetwork@gmail.com

Now read: Midlands farmers, community members reach out during Covid crisis

On its Facebook page, the Love Howick organisation reported that its “Hunger Busters Team” distributed 40 food parcels to the homeless and identified poor, jobless people in the town’s CBD recently. This was its 15th distribution since the Covid-19 lockdown began and the work goes on.

A record of all recipients is kept.

The organisation thanked the kind-hearted Howick community for their generous financial donations (used to purchase essential items, banking details below *) and donations of products dropped off at Big Freeze and Hopewell Supplies.

There are strict control and accountability measures in place, it stated.

Love Howick has a permit from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government’s department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs to distribute food parcels during the lockdown.

Banking details
Love Howick
First National Bank Howick
Cheque Account
Acc No: 62774727039
Branch Code: 220725
Ref: Hunger Busters

Action in Isolation continues with its incredible efforts during this crisis to feed the needy and supply essential items such as face masks and winter blankets.

A recent Facebook post noted: “The Midlands Mask Brigade strikes again! 50 masks distributed to the Mpofana Municipality and their disaster management team.”

https://www.instagram.com/p/B_sPO81JeSb/

In another, the harsh realities of the situation were made clear:

“Today was tough. Thirty-six food parcels packed for some very deserving households and a fair amount more fed with soup and bread. It wasn’t enough.

“Word spreads quickly that there is food relief being delivered and it’s hard not to be affected by the disappointment. The questioning. The ‘why them and not me?’

“Despite our greatest efforts we cannot do it all. That’s a hard reality to face.”

Generous

The organisers are rallying for more support and have been generous in assisting those who want to help and make a difference but are not sure how: see the Facebook page @actioninisolation and Instagram account @action_in_isolation

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In Nottingham Road, efforts go on to assist the local “Transnet” informal settlement community. Trolleys are set up at the entrance of the Notties Spar into which donated items can be placed. Simply purchase staple diet items and essentials and place them in the trolley to make your contribution.

Trolleys with grocery items inside to feed members of the informal settlement in Nottingham Road. Picture by Garth Johnstone

Andrew Howe, Julie Howe, with DA ward councillor Sandile Mnikathi and the involvement of One Life Church, among others, are overseeing the collection and helping co-ordinate distribution.

DA members and councillors have also posted Facebook messages calling for support for the “Box of Hope” campaign. See the flyer below.

In other interventions, the Michaelhouse Community Partnership Trust and its Old Boys network are working with the Nottingham Road Relief Fund to provide food parcels to desperate families; and about 80 families in the Rietvlei area, between Mooi River and Greytown, with the assistance of the local induna, principals and councillor have been receiving food parcels. Action in Isolation has also been helping, reported Lesle Hall.

In Estcourt, the al-Imdaad Foundation and Muslim community have distributed thousands of food parcels across all 23 wards of Inkosi Langalibalele Local Municipality. Their efforts will benefit about 3000 needy families.

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