A long-term partnership has been forged between SA Harvest, the national food rescue and hunger relief organisation whose mission is to end hunger in South Africa, and The Sharks, a proud and successful global rugby franchise located in Durban, South Africa. This seemingly unlikely match of a sporting organisation with a hunger-fighting NPO is set to unlock exponential growth in the number of hungry people served, and the volume of food rescued in KZN. 

Since its inception in October 2019, SA Harvest has delivered the equivalent of 27,7 million meals and rescued 8,3 million kilograms of food from ending up in landfill. It has over 200 vetted beneficiary organisations, 60 of which are located across KZN, from Richards Bay to Pietermaritzburg. In the month of August 2022, over 287,958 meals were delivered to beneficiaries in KZN.

In terms of the agreement, The Sharks will provide SA Harvest with 500m² of dedicated warehouse space at Hollywoodbets Kings Park, a space that SA Harvest can be proud of and call their home. This significant support of SA Harvest’s efforts to relieve hunger by rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste, enables SA Harvest to double its storage capacity. “This means we have the potential to house sufficient stock to deliver a million meals at any point in time. SA Harvest’s model is based on the premise that if we can redirect some of the 13 million tonnes of perfectly edible, nutritious food that goes to waste every year in South Africa, we can significantly alleviate hunger while at the same time reduce the impact of food waste on the environment. The problem in this country is not a lack of food. The problem is a system which deprives millions of people access to affordable nutritious food and while our strategy is to reduce hunger, we are also involved in systemic initiatives that will ultimately help end hunger in our country,” says Alan Browde, CEO of SA Harvest.

The relationship between SA Harvest and The Sharks began after the KZN riots when the two organisations partnered to bring relief to affected areas, primarily in Zululand, through The Sharks’ Hands of Hope initiative. “The formalisation of the partnership between our two organisations will significantly expand the reach of both organisations’ efforts to fight hunger,” Browde says.

The three-year agreement provides The Sharks with the means to amplify the reach of their Hands of Hope initiative and their ability to engage and inspire for greater impact through hunger relief efforts in Zululand. 

“SA Harvest does great and meaningful work, which has made it very easy for The Sharks to align and partner with SA Harvest. The Sharks have welcomed SA Harvest to Hollywoodbets Kings Park by building a permanent warehouse for SA Harvest to operate from. SA Harvest have committed to assisting The Sharks Foundation and our Hands of Hope initiative by providing 45 000 meals quarterly to registered NPO’s and local communities that The Sharks support around the greater Durban area. This is huge for The Sharks, as it will allow us to make the relationships sustainable and really help those in need with essential food product,” says Dr Eduard Coetzee, The Sharks CEO.

Various partners to both organisations have enabled this far-reaching, impactful partnership. During the riots and floods in KZN, SA Harvest, Spar, Clover and Crown National made significant food donations that assisted The Sharks in providing hope and essential food items to local NPO’s and communities during an extremely difficult time. SA Harvest’s partnership with its food donors, including the OneFarm Share programme from Standard Bank and HelloChoice, allows SA Harvest to deliver nutritious food to beneficiary organisations in large volumes.

SA Harvest’s long-term vision for the KZN region, which will be aided by the larger warehouse, is to expand relief efforts beyond the borders of KZN into the Eastern Cape, and to deepen the relationship with existing beneficiary organisations to begin addressing the systemic causes of hunger. “We have realised that our geographic expansion is ideally achieved organically, by growing our existing branches into larger hubs,” says Browde.

Although not currently accepting any new beneficiary applications, in the medium term, SA Harvest aims to extend their reach to some of the homeless shelters in the CBD, which are in dire need.

Browde continues, “Thanks to our partnership with The Sharks and by virtue of our refrigerated trucks, the logistical element of our core focus on rescuing food to fight hunger is firmly in place. Our vision is to keep filling the warehouse with donations of rescued food from every part of the food chain where waste occurs.”

“The bigger picture is, of course, to end hunger and to stop the cycle of charity. We understand that to end hunger we must dream of a bigger and better future and ignite the spirit of our youth. Every individual has a role to play in this brighter future, and can bring inspiration in every form. Everyone has something they can contribute and nothing is too small. We invite corporates, logistic companies, and every South African citizen who is willing and able to join hands with us to bring about the change we want to see in the future,” he concludes.

SA Harvest will be delivering relief to The Sharks Hands of Hope beneficiaries in Zululand on a quarterly basis. The first of delivery will take place this week, with 15 tons of fresh vegetables, procured through the OneFarm Share programme by HelloChoice and Standard Bank, maize meal and dry ingredients being delivered to Hambanathi, Thanda and neighbouring communities. This equates to  45 000 meals delivered on behalf of Hands of Hope. Pictured are Dr Eduard Coetzee, CEO of The Sharks, and Lindsay Hopkins, KZN Operations Manager of SA Harvest.

The below images were captured at a joint relief initiative by Hands of Hope and SA Harvest at the time of the KZN riots and flood relief in 2021: