Mar 23, 2010
The Shoprite Group has announced that its mobile kitchen units utilised in a national feeding programme will continue to operate throughout 2010 to help improve the nutritional status of the people of South Africa, especially children and senior citizens, as well as the thousands of people affected by job losses.
Since it was launched a year ago a total of more than 3 million cups of soup and bread was served to support those communities living on the breadline and also reached out to communities when disaster and humanitarian relief efforts are necessary.
Brian Weyers, Director of the Shoprite Group, said that the group is acutely aware of the current economic pressure on the less privileged sectors of society with the country recovering from recession.
“In deciding to launch this programme the group took cognisance of the link between economic development, poverty alleviation and malnutrition and have re-looked our role and responsibility in this regard. In the process we have focussed social spending last year and in the year to come on helping more and more South Africans who worry how they will feed their families.
“Not only do we continuously strive to bring South Africans the lowest prices, but we have broadened this with substantial social support. The mobile kitchens have enabled the group to reach out across the country to distribute nutritional meals to the poorest of the poor.
“Apart from numerous schools, homes for the aged and community centres across the country where the Shoprite mobile kitchens have by now become a familiar sight, desperate communities in every province affected by floods and heavy rains in the past months received sustenance. The re-focussing on the group’s social spending enabled it to make a difference in the lives of many destitute and misplaced families in a time of need,” Weyers said.
The programme entails two mobile soup kitchens in each of the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces and one each in the Free State/Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces bringing the total to 10.
“Each mobile kitchen is manned by three Shoprite staff members who are supported logistically by the Shoprite supermarket in the area in which it operates. A public relations team of nine people will coordinate the relief effort countrywide. The kitchens are kept stocked through generous contributions by soup manufacturer Royco,” he said.
In conclusion Weyers said that as the largest retailer on the continent, serving 56% of South Africans in its supermarkets in this country, Shoprite regard it as its duty to combat hunger in the country and to assist wherever possible in bringing at least a nutritious meal per day to impoverished South Africans.
Other corporate contributions to the feeding programme come from vehicle manufacturers Mercedes Benz South Africa, Toyota South Africa and Volkswagen South Africa.