WATCH | Food for thought: School bakery helps feed hungry pupils with nutritious 'magic muffins'

  • The Magic Muffin bakery was opened in 2016 at the Dr GJ Joubert Primary School in Strand, Cape Town.
  • The bakery is sponsored by Lebenslinien, a NPO operating in the country, founded by German couple Steffi and Thomas Curry.
  • The 80g muffins are highly nutritious and offer up to 30% of a child's daily vitamin requirements.

The Magic Muffin bakery, although small, bakes up to 7 000 fresh and highly nutritious muffins a week. These muffins are then distributed, free of charge, to preschools and creches in the Strand area, Sir Lowry's Pass village and right up to Grabouw.

The bakery was opened in 2016 at the Dr GJ Joubert Primary School in Strand by German couple Steffi and Thomas Curry. The couple founded Lebenslinien which translates to "Lifeline", a non-profit organisation that helps children in need in South Africa.

"We asked the Bavarian government for funding, and got it, and installed the bakery in Strand. We wanted to give something back to the country that feeds us," Thomas said.

READ | SA facing double storm of Covid-19 and hunger

The couple have an online business which imports South African wines and they have travelled the country extensively.

"You simply can't oversee the needs and, as we strongly believe that the only way to make a difference in a society is through the children... we wanted to have something healthy that they would still enjoy and that's why we bake the muffins," he said.

A community in need

According to Martin Leukes, principal of Dr GJ Joubert Primary School, the partnership with the Currys was born from shared concerns.

nutrient rich muffins feed hungry school children,
Lee-Ann Julies bakes nutrient rich 'magic muffins' to be delivered to hungry schoolchildren.
Magic muffins, feed young children, strand, cape t
Magic muffins freshly baked at the Dr G.J Joubert Primary School in Strand.

"That is, hungry children, poverty, unemployment, those things in our community," he told News24.

The couple approached Leukes and asked if he would consider having the bakery on the school premises. 

"Because we share the same concerns for poverty and hunger, that's why we feel that we must be part of it also," he said.

The school usually receives a total of 600 muffins a week from the bakery, which are allocated to the young pupils in Grade R. But, during the lockdown, they have been giving muffins to all of the pupils.

READ | Back to school: Here is the return date for every grade

From the second week of lockdown, Leukes said the school started handing out a muffin and a plate of food to each of their pupils and some of the parents.

"We thought that it would only be children who we would feed, but when we were busy with feeding the children we saw so many adults coming with their containers for food," he said.

Filled with nutrients

The 80g muffins, created by food scientist Grant Mompel, are highly nutritious and offer up to 30% of a child's daily vitamin requirements. The mixture includes two vitamin complexes and an additional 25g of moringa powder added to the recipe, a superfood that is high in protein and amino acids.

Emily Stewart, principal of Emily's Play School in Sir Lowry's Pass Village, said she has noticed an improvement in her pupils' capabilities since receiving the muffins.

"It's so nutritious for them, it helps them so much because, whatever they've put in, the muffin really helps the children to develop. From my play school, they go to the primary school and from there you could see the change in the kids," she told News24.

According to Stewart, some of the kids suffer from fetal alcohol syndrome, while others struggle to concentrate properly.

"I am so so happy that we are getting these muffins from Thomas and Steffi. Because, if they didn't sponsor these muffins, then where would these kids be getting all these nutrients?" she asked.

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