CAPE TOWN- Entrepreneurs and small business owners in Cape Town’s disadvantaged areas have heeded the call and pulled forces together to assist and provide food for those most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The group of small business owners in Khayelitsha, Strandfontein, Mitchell’s Plain and Mfuleni have started the Community Feeding Network that purchases and delivers fruit and vegetable boxes to families living under the bread-line in their areas.
One fruit and vegetable unit costs R150 and can feed a family of 10. The group of entrepreneurs purchase fruit and vegetables from urban and township farmers, package the foods into family units and deliver them to over 60 families.
The boxes are financed through the kind donations of caring South Africans and as far afield as Belgium and Germany.
The small businesses owners from the Community Feeding Network are either current or past participants of the Small Business Academy of the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) which offers sponsored tuition in order to strengthen and grow small businesses in underprivileged communities.
Sandy Hendricks and Jackie Julie Brock from Mitchell’s Plain and Kiki Bantom from Khayelitsha all had their own catering business, however due to the national lockdown restricting the preparation of hot meals they were without any form of income.
Hendricks applied for an essential services certificate and started delivering fresh fruit and vegetables from her contracted farmers to her usual clientele, at the same time selflessly sharing produce with community feeding groups.
Bantom applied for an essential services certificate to open a Spaza Shop, but had decided together with Hendricks and Brock that they can expand their reach of supplying nutritious food to those in need, whilst having some form of income and keeping their own families fed.
From Mfuleni, Alfred Sonandi’s waste picking business came to an abrupt halt and was desperate for income. Together with a friend they are now delivering fresh produce to families in need as well as preparing soup to try and assist in alleviating the dire need for meals.
Jody Morris, who has a graphic design business in Strandfontein, also joined the network to distribute food to 20 vulnerable families from the Strandfontein Children’s Cricket Club that he supports.
Coordinating the efforts of the entrepreneurs and creating a central hub for the network is Edith Kennedy, lecturer at USB. She said the lockdown has pushed small businesses into uncharted waters, especially in the informal settlements, and she realised the desperate need for them to during this trying time to find some form of income whilst supporting their communities.
Those who would like to sponsor a box can contact Edith Kennedy on [email protected]
For LIVE updates on the Coronavirus pandemic, follow us on Twitter : @sacoronamonitor