[9 July 2020]. The Dutch government has teamed up with local online retailer Yebo Fresh, as well as Netherlands-based Run4Schools, a foundation that finances and organises in-school and after-school sports care in the townships of South Africa, to help families in need in the Mitchells Plain area. With donations of 530 food parcels to be delivered, this is a contribution to relieve many people who have been struggling to cope as a result of reduced incomes over the last few months.
Since the start of lockdown, thousands of families have been living in dire conditions owing to the decrease in work opportunities or full job loss, leaving them with no choice but to rely on organisations dedicated to assisting vulnerable communities. As a contribution to the relief efforts of many organisations, the Dutch Consulate in Cape Town donated 530 food parcels to families in Mitchells Plain, starting with a handover of 130 parcels to children at Northwood Primary School on Wednesday, 8 July 2020. This is the first of four food drives, part of the #cocreateSANL Food Drive, aimed at serving the families who need it most.
“Northwood Primary School in Woodlands, Mitchells Plain, wishes to acknowledge and thank the Dutch Consulate for their contribution with Run4Schools and Yebo Fresh in making generous donations to our school. Our school is situated in a historically disadvantaged area and our community faces the insurmountable challenges of high unemployment, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy, gangsterism and violence. These factors all negatively impact on the quality of life and, generally, self-esteem and morale are low. We are grateful to the Dutch Consulate for bringing a glimmer of hope to a pre-existing marginalised community who can only benefit from this benevolence, and we can only express the hope that the amicable ties forged with this Consulate will continue to grow from strength to strength”, says Leon Jones, Principal at Northwood Primary School.
The Netherlands Embassy and Consulate was amazed by the initiatives taken by local businesses and charitable organisations, and agrees that growth occurs when working together.
“We as the Netherlands Embassy and Consulate praise the crucial role played by all who are filling in the gap in a bid to alleviate the hardship faced by those hardest hit by the lockdown. It is heart-wrenching to see people suffer from hunger, and horrible to witness so many unable to make ends meet. We are in awe of the measures being taken by businesses and NGOs like Yebo Fresh and Run4Schools. In the face of a major global challenge, our partnership is needed now more than ever and continues to stand strong. We can achieve so much more together than apart,” comments Sebastiaan Messerschmidt, Consul General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in South Africa.
Partnering with them to supply these food parcels is Yebo Fresh, a local company that provides food delivery services to previously unserved areas in Cape Town like Gugulethu, Imizamo Yethu, Khayelitsha and Delft. By providing food and household goods deliveries to these areas, businesses and private households have the convenience of having goods delivered to their premises or homes, especially in a time as uncertain as this, where our health should be put first. The Yebo Fresh team was excited to get on board with this great initiative, and look forward to the remaining food drives.
“With an estimated 25% of South Africans today living under the lowest food poverty line with children and women hit disproportionately, projects like these are absolutely crucial. This project is fantastic: Run4schools has a rich local network and is able to identify exactly who is most at risk; #cocreateSANL provides the funding and great practical support; with Yebo Fresh as the service provider for efficient sourcing, packing and delivery of the parcels. Co-operation for real impact at its best,” says Jessica Boonstra, Founder of Yebo Fresh.
“With the support of our Dutch and South African partners, we have been able to realise the implementation of a hugely beneficial food program in Mitchells Plain within a very short space of time. The need was incredibly high, the queues for our distribution points in and around our schools very long, and deliveries were not always without danger. However, every package was successfully delivered to families in need. As grateful as the recipients are for whom we do this, as grateful and immensely proud is Run4Schools of our coaches, the runners, all contributors and our partners,” comments Leslie Pangemanan, Founder of the Run4Schools Foundation.
This food drive highlights the power of sectors like government, NGOs and businesses coming together to ensure that those who need help most during these times, receive it. Following the first drive on 8 July 2020, they are planning 3 more drives in the near future in Mitchells Plain.