The following article written by Newlands Rotarian, Vanessa Rousseau, was published in Rotary Voices.

As members of the Rotary Club of Newlands in Cape Town, South Africa, we could not stand by watching the devastating effects of COVID-19 on food security in our country and our city. 

Soon after the initial lockdown period was announced, we jumped into action to do what we could to alleviate the suffering. To ensure that we provide what is needed to those most in need, we have drawn on our longstanding relationships with community leaders who have worked with us on projects over many years.

One of our members started a fundraising campaign for our club to raise funds for food relief on BackaBuddy, a South African crowdfunding platform. With the donations to this campaign and the assistance of various partners, we raised about 1.4 million South African Rand (more than US$80,000).

This translated to meals for thousands of children, families, and the elderly.

So far these funds have assisted the following beneficiaries in the greater Cape Town area:

  • The families of 780 children from Early Childhood Development centres in Langa, including food parcels and food vouchers for a total of 12 weeks, amounting to around 200, 000 meals.
  • More than 250 children, other local community members, and the elderly via two Early Childhood Development centres in Masiphumelele (near Noordhoek) and Mbekweni (near Paarl). Bot centres have well-managed community food kitchens which have provided meals for 12 weeks. This has helped many families survive.
  • More than 3,000 children per day and many elderly people received meals from twelve Philisa Abafazi Bethu(PAB) community kitchens and feeding distribution points. These are superbly managed by the indefatigable Lucinda Evans who is the CEO of PAB and with whom Newlands Rotary has been working for many years. Watch this video to see the work of PAB in the Lavender Hill community.

While we are delighted with the support we have received and the relief this has enabled us to provide thus far, our efforts cannot stop here. The South African economy is at an all-time low and the unemployment rate at an all-time high.

The crisis continues in Cape Town and the rest of the country. We will continue to raise funds to feed the hungry. To this end our Rotary Club of Newlands BackaBuddy campaign remains open for further donations. Find more details how you can help.