Shoprite launches feeding scheme

6 March 2009

South African retailer Shoprite has launched a feeding programme to help the country’s poorest communities. The initiative also has the support of Toyota, Volkswagen, Mercedes and Royco.

Announcing the initiative this week, Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson said the retailer had recognised the pressure put on less privileged people by the current economic climate, and had reviewed the company’s social spending for the year.

Mobile soup kitchens

Shoprite estimates that it will distribute at least 3.88-million cups of soup over the next 12 months, especially to children and senior citizens, as well as to thousands of people affected by job losses.

“We have been piloting two mobile soup kitchens since February 2007, which to date have served a total of 1.48-million meals of soup and bread in the Gauteng and North West provinces,” Basson said.

The project will be expanded with two further mobile soup kitchens in each of the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces and one each in the Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, bringing the total to 10.

Manned by staff

Each mobile kitchen is manned by three Shoprite staff members who are supported by the Shoprite supermarket in the area in which they operate. A public relations team of nine people will coordinate the relief effort countrywide.

“As the largest retailer on the continent, serving 54.4% of South Africans in its supermarkets in this country, Shoprite regards it as its duty to assist wherever possible in bringing at least a nutritious meal per day to these people,” Basson said.

Finance Minister Trevor Manual announced in his February Budget speech that government support for school feeding schemes would increase by R4-billion over the next three years.

SAinfo reporter

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