It is National Soup Day on 31 May, and once again Denny, the South African soup maker, and FoodBank SA are joining forces to feed the hungry. It follows World Hunger Day, marked on 28 May, for which a green ribbon is the symbol.
The purpose of National Soup Day is to make it easier for consumers to help disadvantaged people during the coldest months of the year, and to help the poorest communities get a hot meal when they need it the most.
In collaboration with FoodBank South Africa, Denny has pledged to donate 40c worth of soup for every can sold on National Soup Day, as well as throughout May and June. By simply buying a can of soup, you will be playing your part. FoodBank and Denny have been in partnership for three years.
The company says about 11 million people in South Africa do not know where their next meal will come from, or when. FoodBank distributes food to more than a thousand NGOs countrywide. It is a non-profit organisation and the country’s only food banking network that provides quality food to those in need.
But it does get financial and other support from the government. FoodBank’s governance includes William Mzimba, the chief executive of Accenture; the minister of social development, Bathabile Olive Dlamini; religious leaders and representatives of community organisations such as Rotary, Lions and Freemasons.
Rugby star Bryan Habana is the patron of FoodBank. He works on a voluntary basis to support the organisation and the hungry in South Africa. Habana says he was attracted to working with FoodBank as he could indirectly help so many community-based organisations.
Crispin Sonn, a FoodBank board member, says Habana’s involvement will raise awareness of what the organisation does and, more importantly, profile the issues of hunger and the ability of all South Africans to contribute to solving it.
Supported by the national government and food companies, FoodBank is working to establish a nationwide network of food banks in urban and rural South Africa. It already has food banks in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Port Elizabeth. It has a fleet of 28 vehicles and warehouse space to store large amounts of food.
In 2009, its first year of operation, FoodBank distributed more than 6 000 tons of food and essential non-food groceries valued at R76-million.
It also runs programmes to secure a regular supply of nutritional staple foods with service groups.
FOOD IS A BASIC NEED
Food is a basic need to which everyone is entitled, but with nearly 40 percent of families in South Africa living in poverty, this basic need is not always met.
According to a report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization on the state of food security, more than 814 million people in developing countries are undernourished. Of these, 204 million live in sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa.
Millions of dollars are spent annually in food programmes to help eradicate poverty. The World Food Programme works around the world to combat hunger, and aims to improve nutrition and the quality of life of the world’s most vulnerable individuals, as well as enable development.
According to Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa, South African food producers are under pressure from higher electricity, fuel, water and labour costs. Poor weather has also hurt food production which affects the nation’s imports and exports. These factors play a part in driving up food prices.
HELP THE HUNGRY
FoodBank has listed some ways in which ordinary people can help feed the hungry:
● Donate: Any donation will make a difference. By donating food to FoodBank, you can be sure that it lands up in the hands of those who need it the most. Basic foodstuffs such as fruit, vegetables and starches such as rice or maize meal are always appreciated.
● Volunteer: The organisation welcomes volunteers of all ages. By volunteering you can contribute to awareness campaigns by writing stories, taking videos and photographs to get the message to a wider audience.
● Fundraise: FoodBank fundraisers are ordinary members of the public who help raise funds in order to provide quality food for the hungry. In 2012, the organisation was the beneficiary of a Holland-to-Belgium sponsored cycle tour. Participants were asked to raise R14 431 each for the organisation. All profits went to help the hungry and malnourished in South Africa.
● In South Africa, you can also SMS the word FoodBank to 40421 to donate R20 to feed 12 people over World Hunger Day.