Provincial treasury approved the allocation of R53 million additional funding for emergency food relief programmes that will run across the Western Cape.
“We know that the lockdown is tough on everyone and is impacting on the livelihoods of many families across the Western Cape. That is why we are working hard to ensure that no-one goes hungry during this difficult time and that we are all able to play our part to stop the spread of the coronavirus. We have therefore taken a number of emergency steps to ensure our residents get the nutrition they need,” says premier Alan Winde.
The allocation of funds for the emergency food provision plan includes:
- R20 million to distribute 50 000 food parcels, each of which will support a family of four for one month. The department of social development will allocate these funds to selected non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to prepare and distribute the food parcels.
- R5 million to the department of social development for delivery of an additional 10 000 cooked meals per day for one month.
- R18 million to the department of education to initiate a special school feeding program from Wednesday 8 April until Monday 20 April, which will target the 485 000 existing school feeding scheme beneficiaries with one takeaway meal a day at approximately 1 000 schools.
- R10 million to increase the number of beneficiaries receiving food at existing department of social development feeding schemes to 6520 people.
The department of social development has also reactivated early childhood development (ECD) feeding schemes at the majority of the 1 100 ECDs funded by the department.
This will feed up to 80 000 children a day once fully up and running.
Minister of social development, Sharna Fernandez added, “Only a whole-of-society approach through the efforts of all spheres of society can help curb the pressure we experience on our available services. In this regard, our NGO partners are critical to helping us deliver this feeding programme during this difficult time, and the existing network in place will ensure that we can get food to those who need it most, as quickly as possible.”
Minister of education, Debbie Schäfer further added, “We look forward to working with schools and service providers to supply meals to as many of our school children as possible who normally qualify for the national school feeding programme. This is a time when we need to stand together as a province and as a country in protecting those among us who need extra help. The National School Nutrition Programme feeds approximately 483 000 of our poorer learners. We need to get to as many learners as possible in this very difficult time.”
The first feeding initiatives have already begun.
“This decision was not made lightly, and it was not made overnight. This was the most logistically plausible way in which to support as many learners as we possibly can so that our children receive the nutrition they need. For many children, this is the only meal they will receive today,” says Schäfer.
“We understand that school staff and volunteers are scared of Covid-19 – as we all are, which is why we have put these measures in place, as per the national institute for communicable diseases (NICD) guidelines. This is a difficult task, but it is an essential one. We are doing this with the best interest of our province’s children at heart. We cannot simply leave our children to go hungry. It is also no different to people going to shops to buy food, or the many soup kitchens that continue to operate.”