Jul 30, 2014
Emotions ran high in several communities across South Africa as a number of role models handed out soup to the needy simultaneously in celebration of the Shoprite Mobile Soup Kitchen programme reaching an important milestone in growing its fleet to 22 units that can now serve a nutritious meal to 600 000 people in dire circumstances per month. An additional ten trucks were acquired and customised to serve as fully equipped soup kitchens earlier this year.
Celebrities such as Winnie Khumalo, Dr Malinga, Liezel van der Westhuizen, Ismail Abrahams, Nomonde Vakalisa and Brümilda van Rensburg were thrilled to join Shoprite in making a difference and this lead to substantial activity on social media networks. The beneficiaries that received a visit from the Shoprite Mobile Soup Kitchens include Tlhakanang Primary School in Tembisa, Gauteng; Bona Lesedi Disability Centre in Diepsloot West; the Danville Liggiehuis in Pretoria; the Tswellang Special Needs School in Bloemfontein; Slindokuhle Soup Kitchen in Joe Slovo, Port Elizabeth; the Sijongephambili Early Childhood Development Centre in Lwandle, Cape Town; and Amatikwe Primary School in Inanda, Durban.
As a responsible corporate citizen the Shoprite Group not only continuously strives to make food accessible at the lowest prices to cash strapped consumers, but also to make a difference in the lives of large numbers of people who are suffering as a result of food insecurity on a daily basis.
Speaking at the official celebration event in Centurion on 30 July 2014, Shoprite Checkers Marketing Director Neil Schreuder said that even the smallest of businesses can get involved in similar social investment projects as every contribution to social upliftment, no matter how small, makes a difference to the lives of those who need it most.
“In association with our partners, the Shoprite Mobile Soup Kitchens provides a nutritional meal of fortified soup and bread to approximately 600 000 South Africans on a monthly basis. The mobile units are also deployed to offer relief to victims of natural disasters such as floods and fires in the most affected areas. The supermarket group is aware of the on-going economic pressures experienced by all South Africans, especially in underprivileged communities and we believe that our Mobile Soup Kitchens don’t only offer a cup of soup, but provides a meal of hope,” he added.
Since launching its feeding programme in 2007 Shoprite’s fleet of Mobile Soup Kitchens have served 19 million cups of soup to people living in dire circumstances and those who are victims of natural disasters. Starting off with only two Mobile Soup Kitchens serving Gauteng and the North West Province, the programme was gradually extended to twelve in order to cover more disadvantaged communities in need across South Africa. The total number of Mobile Soup Kitchens is projected to extend the reach of the feeding programme to more than seven million people this year alone.
The Mobile Soup Kitchens operate seven days a week to identify areas where soup and bread is served nationwide. Each vehicle is manned by well-trained crew members to ensure maximum optimisation and is customised with fully-functional kitchens where the nutritional soup is prepared on board. As many of the areas visited have limited access to water, this also has to be accommodated when travelling to these communities.
“In a country where only half of our families have enough food to eat and hunger is a reality, especially amongst children and the elderly, we believe that the communities served by these mobile soup kitchens benefit from the fortified soup that has been developed specially for this programme,” explained Jeanne Cerff, General Manager Food, Mars Africa, producers of Royco Soup.