Covid-19: Professional bodies team up to feed vulnerable South Africans

Heeding President Ramaphosa’s call for a united response to the Covid-19 crisis, fifteen professional bodies from the finance industry are putting their weight behind a ground-breaking charity that distributes surplus food to a quarter of a million vulnerable South Africans every day. If your business is lucky enough to continue to operate during lockdown you should really consider making a tax-free donation to FoodForward SA.

The jury’s still out on whether or not the coronavirus will cause a nationwide public health crisis. But there is no doubting the impact the pandemic has already had on our fragile economy. While the economic crisis affects us all, its devastating impact is most keenly felt by those who have the least.

Even before Covid-19, 26% South Africans faced daily hunger. But as the coronavirus stifles our economy, this number is set to go through the roof.

What does FoodForward SA do?

FoodForward SA “connects a world of excess to a world of need,” says MD Andy du Plessis, by collecting surplus food from farms, factories and supermarkets and delivering it to beneficiary organisations including creches, old-age homes, homeless shelters and community feeding schemes. What’s more, over 80% of the food they distribute is considered nutritious.

FoodForward SA currently feeds 255,000 South Africans every day but one look at the numbers shows that the possibility for change is endless.

  • WORLD OF EXCESS: ⅓ of all food produced in South Africa ends up in landfills
  • WORLD OF NEED: 14 million South Africans struggle to put food on the table

In addition to operating a conventional supply chain where they collect, store and redistribute the surplus produce, FoodForward SA has also developed a digital technology platform that takes out the middleman by virtually connecting beneficiary organisations to nearby retail stores and food outlets.

With this scalable model, FoodForward SA already feeds urban and rural communities in six of South Africa’s nine provinces. But they’re not stopping till they’ve achieved their vision of a South Africa without hunger.

FoodForward SA is now more important than ever

As the Covid-19 crisis drags on, more and more South Africans will be faced with hunger every day. FoodForward SA is responding to this unforeseen challenge by committing to deliver more food than ever before to more beneficiary organisations than ever before. To achieve its goal, the non-profit needs more food producers to come on board (know anyone who owns a farm or a supermarket?) and a cash injection of R50 million. FoodForward SA’s innovative model means that every R1 you donate puts R15 worth of food in the mouths of the people who need it most. It’s tax-deductible too.

What does all of this have to do with the finance community?

In normal times, organisations like the Financial Planning Institute (FPI) and the Institute of Risk Management (IRMSA) put all of their energies into representing their members and growing their industries to ensure a brighter financial future for all South Africans. But these are not normal times, says Lelane Bezuidenhout, the FPI’s CEO: “As the world battles the coronavirus pandemic, we all need to do everything we can to assist those in need.”

After examining all the options, a cohort of fifteen different professional bodies has come together to use their collective influence to help FoodForward SA. The organisations – the coalition is rounded out by the Institute of Directors South Africa, the Compliance Institute of Southern Africa, The Ethics Institute, Association of Certified Fraud Examiners SA, Financial Planning Institute of South Africa, the Actuarial Association of South Africa,  the South African Council for Administrators, South African Graduate Employers Association,  Independent Professional Body Forum, Institute of People Management, the Corporate Counsel Association of South Africa, the Southern Africa Institute for Business Accountants, the South African Institute of Occupational Safety, the Institute of Retirement Funds Africa and The Institute of Risk Management South Africa.  They have all encouraged their members to support the initiative.

Why helping South Africa to overcome Covid-19 goes beyond charity

In these unprecedented times, helping those less fortunate than you isn’t just “the right thing to do,” says Gillian le Cordeur of the IRMSA, “But an essential risk treatment strategy to address the consequences of social unrest, starvation, desperation and the potential for loss of life.”

While it may difficult to look beyond your own circumstances at the moment – a lot of businesses and individuals are feeling the pinch – it is imperative for the future of our country that we all do whatever we can to help South Africa get through this tremendously challenging time. History will judge our generation by our response to this crisis. So, look at the bigger picture and do the right thing.

Do your bit. Donate now!

Going shopping for elderly neighbours and cooking meals for medic friends is important. But if you’re lucky enough to be able to continue to work through the lockdown, a monetary contribution to a charity like FoodForward SA has the potential to touch even more lives. A donation of only R50 will give one person two meals per day for a month! This is because the donations go towards the infrastructure of the business, while the food is donated. A larger, tax-deductible donation has the potential to uplift an entire community.

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Farmers Review Africa
Farmers Review Africa