Ten million milestone for Shoprite’s feeding programme
May 25th 2012, 08:28
The feeding programme of the Shoprite Group to fight hunger and malnutrition countrywide has now served a total of 10 million cups of Royco soup and bread to help improve the nutritional status of the people of South Africa.
This milestone was celebrated with a Ten Million Cups of Hope event at the Nerina Primary School in Bonteheuwel in Cape Town where Minister Angie Motshekga, South Africa’s Minister of Basic Education attended. It was also celebrated at the Mvelaphanda Primary School in Tembisa, Gauteng.
Minister Motshekga commended the group for the work they do with their mobile kitchen units and have emphasised the importance of good nutrition for all South African learners.
The 12 Shoprite mobile kitchen units which has become a familiar sight in those South African communities living on the breadline are distributing at least 300 000 cups of Royco soup and bread per month, especially to children and senior citizens, as well as the thousands of people affected by job losses.
Since the feeding programme was launched Shoprite has also reached out to communities when disaster and humanitarian relief efforts became necessary. During the course of the year the group will also expand the project into Africa, piloting one truck in Namibia and another in Zambia.
Brian Weyers, Director of the Shoprite Group, says of this milestone that the supermarket group is acutely aware of the on-going economic pressure on the less privileged sectors of society where unemployment is rife.
“In deciding to launch this programme the group took cognisance of the link between economic development, poverty alleviation and malnutrition. We have re-looked our role and responsibility in communities and have focused social spending on helping more and more South Africans who worry how they will feed their families.
“Not only do we continuously strive to bring South Africans the lowest prices, but we have broadened this with substantial social support. The mobile kitchens have enabled the group to reach out across the country to distribute nutritional meals to the poorest of the poor.
“In working with our partners Royco we have put high emphasis on nutrition taking into account the key nutrients, Vitamin A, Iron and Zinc which have been identified for public health in developing countries by the World Health Organisation.
“The Royco soup served at the mobile kitchen units nationally are made from fortified soup powders with 2 slices of bread meeting commendable percentages of RDA for the specific vitamins and minerals.
“The re-focussing on the group’s social spending enabled us to make a difference in the lives of many destitute and misplaced families in a time of need,” Weyers said.
The programme entails two mobile soup kitchens in each of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces and one each in the rest of the nine provinces. Two units have now been allocated for Namibia and Zambia.
“Each mobile kitchen is manned by three Shoprite staff members who are supported logistically by the Shoprite supermarket in the area in which it operates. A public relations team of nine people coordinates the relief effort countrywide. The kitchens are kept stocked through generous contributions by soup manufacturer Royco, Albany and Sasko to stock the 12 units in operation,” he said.
In conclusion Weyers said that as the largest retailer on the continent, serving 56% of South Africans in its supermarkets in this country, Shoprite regards it as its duty to combat hunger and to assist wherever possible in bringing at least a nutritious meal per day to impoverished South Africans.
Other corporate contributions to the feeding programme come from vehicle manufacturers Mercedes Benz South Africa, Toyota South Africa and Volkswagen South Africa.
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