SA Harvest and a large cohort of collaborators – donors, producers, manufacturers, and logistics companies – are actively addressing the devastation and hunger in KwaZulu-Natal following the unrest, with a massive ongoing relief programme.
A 1 000 square metre marquee was erected on sports grounds in the city centre within one day and is now serving as a temporary warehouse for the massive volumes of food and essentials being transported to the city from SA Harvest’s branches in Johannesburg and Cape Town. This location has become SA Harvest’s base for distributing relief food and emergency products to vetted beneficiary organisations in the most severely affected parts of KZN.
SA Harvest’s response to the rioting and looting began immediately as the severity of the damage and the ensuing shortages became evident. Alan Browde, CEO and founder of SA Harvest, explains, “Our branch in Durban and the area where our warehouse is located were directly affected by the unrest so we were intensely aware of the unfolding crisis.”
Strong existing infrastructure
He notes that since SA Harvest launched in September 2019, the organisation has built up a strong infrastructure, logistical and technology capabilities, and was therefore able to respond immediately and efficiently. Since its inception in October 2019, this national food rescue organisation has delivered the equivalent of 7,5 million meals to food vulnerable communities.
Generosity of donors
“Our existing food donors have responded with enormous generosity, and we have received financial donations from concerned organisations, expats and individuals that have enabled us to secure produce, dry groceries, and sundry health and hygiene products such as nappies and sanitary pads, from a wide network of donors and suppliers in Cape Town and Johannesburg. To date, we have been able to send five fully-laden 30-tonne interlink trucks to Durban from Joburg and Cape Town,” says Browde.
Sorting and distribution of the relief stock is being undertaken from the SA Harvest temporary warehouse and delivered to over 100 vetted beneficiaries that are all registered non-profit organisations. More importantly, adds Browde, data collection systems have been bolstered to ensure, inter alia, accurate reporting to our donors and efficient and equitable distribution of produce to the fast-growing number of beneficiaries in a substantially increased geographical area “Transparency is fundamental to our operation and we are being especially vigilant in a situation where the rapid extension of our services to the more rural and largely neglected areas of KZN that have been severely affected by the unrest. “
Browde believes the KZN region will suffer after-effects for some time and says that SA Harvest will continue providing assistance in some form or another for years to come. “The fact is that in South Africa, 20 million people go to bed hungry every night, and 3 million of these people are in KZN. We have work to do in the province, and our assistance will continue as long as we are in business.”
Overcoming challenges has been part of the continuing relief effort. To date these challenges have included setting up and maintaining temporary infrastructure in Durban, establishing partnerships with logistics companies to facilitate the transport of food and essentials to Durban, and ensuring security en route as well as at the Durban locations. “But with the will and commitment of our teams, the incredible support across the board, and our firm belief that every South African has the right to sufficient, nutritious food, which is a foundation to living a dignified life, we will continue to overcome the challenges we face.”
Browde says the response from the corporate and private sector to the SA Harvest relief programme has been phenomenal. “We are constantly amazed – and deeply grateful – at the extent of the generous donations of food, money and other products. We have also had exceptional support from logistics companies, and many concerned and compassionate food donors. It is inspiring how South Africans come together to assist one another when facing crises – it’s one of the most uplifting experiences of living in this country.”
In addition to financial donations from companies and individuals who have generously donated to SA Harvest’s relief efforts, the organisations that have partnered with SA Harvest include:
- Bex Logistics
- Boulder Foundation
- Brownie Points
- Bulldog Hauliers
- Cape Foods (Pty) Ltd
- Cape Town Cares
- Century City Community
- Do More Foundation
- DSC Attorneys
- Hello Choice
- Hey Gorgeous
- Hope Drive
- McCain Foods
- Pick ‘n Pay
- RCL Foods
- South African Chamber of Commerce in Mauritius
- The Angel Network
- The Rotary Club of Durban
- Time Link Cargo
- Waterford Carriers