After South Africa went into a national lockdown late in March, and especially following the extension in April, it soon became clear that food security would increasingly become the greatest concern with people unable to generate income. Community Chest, which initially distributed hygiene packs to vulnerable communities, extended its mandate to include the provision of groceries.
Our Food Relief Programme continues and our national footprint expands through the following four projects - Food Hubs, Food Vouchers, The Dignity Shop andthe Community Chest Donations Drive-Thru.
This is a Community Chest initiative in response to the already present hunger pandemic, exacerbated by the COVID-19 lockdown and the initial closing of school feeding schemes.
In a country plagued by rampant unemployment, poverty and hunger, our Dignity Shops are based on need and not greed. We place dignity at the forefront of our operations and make people the focus over profit.
Community Chest Food Hubs are centres where we support existing and successful food kitchens right in the location in which they operate. It is serving the needs of the people right where they are.
Food Hubs have recently been launched in Kuilsriver and the rural area of Montagu and will be expended as donations allow.
Even though communities and individuals have appreciated the provision of food boxes, this has eroded their sense of agency and created dependency. People are unable maintain their sense of autonomy. To address this, funding will be raised to provide individuals with food vouchers via SMS, allowing them to maintain dignity while supporting them in providing for their family.
This method of transaction is much safer, eradicating the high risks of delivering within communities.
Community Chest has been honoured to serve on the forefront of COVID-19 relief for our marginalized communities who have been rendered even more vulnerable since the beginning of lockdown in late March.
As the need increased, we continued the momentum by calling on active citizens to support us by displaying the Madiba spirit of generosity and service for an innovative campaign launched on Mandela Day called the Donations Drive-Thru.
In this time of crisis, every single citizen who is a little more fortunate is looking for ways to help make a change and we are providing a simple way for everyone to join in and help to #changethestory.