‘Stop Hunger Now’ to open PMB branch

2016-04-13 06:00
PHOTO: supplied Graca Machel (right) packs meals in Maputo when SHN celebrated her 70th birthday.

PHOTO: supplied Graca Machel (right) packs meals in Maputo when SHN celebrated her 70th birthday.

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INTERNATIONAL organisation Stop Hunger Now will be opening its doors in Pietermaritzburg next month in an effort to address and eradicate hunger in the city.

Currently Stop Hunger Now (SHN) South Africa supports over 56 000 children and students five times a week with meals.

“We are pleased that hunger eradication is now number two on the sustainable development agenda of the United Nations and the world has committed to eradicating hunger by 2030. In South Africa we focus on early childhood development centres and also university students as our meal support is linked to education. We also assist in disaster and crisis situations,” said Saira Khan, CEO of Stop Hunger Now.

Khan explained that SHN has its own ingredients that it uses to ensure the meals are nutritious as malnutrition is a major problem when dealing with hunger.

The meal is put together according to Unicef standards and comprises soya, rice, a soup mix and 23 essential minerals and vitamins that is supplied to the organisation worldwide by Heinza, at no cost.

The meal is dehydrated and has a shelf life of one year and only requires water and heat to provide a nutritious healthy meal at a cost of R2.90 per meal.

With a head office in Gauteng and a branch in Cape Town the Pietermaritzburg branch will serve the KwaZulu-Natal and Eastern Cape regions.

“KZN is a province hard hit by poverty and HIV/Aids and many children find themselves living in abject poverty. In order to meet my mandate, I believed it was necessary to open a branch in Pietermaritzburg,” said Khan, a former Pietermaritzburg girl.

She said that her personal history and understanding of the hardships and difficulties experienced in city helped when choosing the location for the third SHN branch.

“PMB was a natural choice as it gives us access to all areas of KZN and the Eastern Cape and is closer to Johannesburg than Durban and the cost of operating an office from PMB was more cost-effective.”

SHN is a small operation that operates with 18 staff nationally, but has more than 300 volunteers and corporates to package approximately five million meals annually.

There will be three staff at the Pietermaritzburg branch supported by a team of volunteers that will be sourced locally and by head office.

Khan said that the community has a very important role to play in that they can volunteer their time to pack meals every second Saturday of the month, assist with distribution of meals or make a financial contribution to the organisation. It costs R100 to feed a child a hot nutritious meal every day and just R500 to feed a family of two adults and four children.

“We need volunteers. We are happy to hear from them, and in fact, our entire organisation is reliant on committed volunteers. We would not be successful without their commitment and participation as part of our core team,” said Khan.

SHN Pietermaritzburg has partnered with Pietermaritzburg and District Community Chest and will be the recipient of the meals which they in turn will distribute to the Early Childhood Development organisations they work with said Khan.

There will be three staff at the
Pietermaritzburg branch supported by a team of
volunteers who will be sourced locally and by head office

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