R16.50 to feed a fam­ily? This bag beats bread

CityPress - - News - POLOKO TAU poloko.tau@city­press.co.za

Can you feed an av­er­age-sized fam­ily on just R16.50? Even a loaf of bread, which re­tails at about that amount, can­not send 10 chil­dren to bed with full stom­achs.

But Stop Hunger Now South­ern Africa, a not-for­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion that fights hunger glob­ally, has come up with what it says is the cheap­est an­swer to ad­dress­ing the global hunger prob­lem.

It has de­vel­oped a ba­sic food pack­age con­sist­ing of rice, soya, soup mix and a vi­ta­min sa­chet.

When it’s cooked, six adults can each get a siz­able plate, or 10 chil­dren can eat their stom­ach’s fill.

The food pack­age was pro­duced by the or­gan­i­sa­tion as part of its drive to com­bat hunger.

Stop Hunger of­fi­cial Ntukhutho Dube said: “It cooks the same way as rice and takes about 30 min­utes. Once cooked, it can feed a big fam­ily – all this for just R16.50 a pack, or R2.75 a plate.”

The or­gan­i­sa­tion is now plan­ning to pro­duce and pack­age larger vol­umes, but needs pub­lic and cor­po­rate sup­port to help it pro­duce and pack the food and get it de­liv­ered to peo­ple who need it the most.

Ac­cord­ing to Stop Hunger, hunger kills more peo­ple ev­ery year than Aids, malaria and tu­ber­cu­lo­sis com­bined. It says 3.1 mil­lion chil­dren in South Africa suf­fer from house­hold hunger, and global sup­plies of food can­not meet de­mand.

Re­cently, Stop Hunger and Bar­loworld – with the help of its em­ploy­ees and vol­un­teers – packed 170 000 meals for dis­tri­bu­tion to needy fam­i­lies and cen­tres in South Africa and Mozam­bique.

One box con­tains 36 food pack­ets, which is about 216 meals. In a re­cent food-pack­ag­ing drive, 20 vol­un­teers packed 5 000 meals in two hours.

Stop Hunger said the food box was enough to feed 20 chil­dren five meals a week for the whole year.

With so many chil­dren af­fected by hunger in the coun­try, Stop Hunger has taken its food pack­ages to early child­hood de­vel­op­ment cen­tres and a num­ber of crèches have been ben­e­fit­ing from the food packs.

One of the ben­e­fi­cia­ries is Bonono Early Learn­ing Cen­tre in Alexan­dra.

Every month, the school re­ceives two boxes con­tain­ing 36 food pack­ets.

Dube said: “We as­sist about 20 early child­hood de­vel­op­ment cen­tres in Alexan­dra and many oth­ers across Gaut­eng and other prov­inces. We’re en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to come on board and as­sist us to help those af­fected by hunger.

“We have seen Bonono ren­o­vate its build­ing, build chil­dren’s toi­lets and a play­ing area through money saved from this project.”

Bonono prin­ci­pal Tina Mo­fo­keng ex­pressed her grat­i­tude and said she was now able to take in chil­dren whose par­ents could not af­ford the fees charged by the crèche and she was also able to buy ex­tra veg­eta­bles for the chil­dren.

Stop Hunger said it needed more vol­un­teers and funds to be able to reach many sim­i­lar cen­tres.

Stop Hunger chief ex­ec­u­tive Saira Khan said: “The erad­i­ca­tion of hunger is the sec­ond pri­or­ity of the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment plan and we en­cour­age cor­po­rate South Africa to sup­port this goal. Bar­loworld is a lead­ing ex­am­ple of how em­ployee vol­un­teer­ing con­trib­utes to this pri­or­ity, and we are proud of our part­ner­ship with it.”

NU­TRI­TIOUS One of the pack­ets in the Stop Hunger Now food pack that con­sists of rice, soya, soup mix and a vi­ta­min sa­chet

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