Help PHA food campaign to feed families

Volunteers pack goods for families in need. Picture: Supplied

Tons of goods and thousands of food parcels have made their way to informal settlements and farming communities in and around the Philippi Horticultural Area (PHA), thanks to donations and volunteers.

Communities, including Houtkapers, Sandvlei, Springfields, Knolespark, Jabula, Lekkerwater, Sonnestraal and Egoli where farmland families are situated, were able to eat thanks to the efforts of the PHA Food and Farming Campaign but the organisation is in desperate need of more donations to continue food distribution to the most vulnerable during the Covid-19 pandemic.

PHA campaign volunteer Susanna Coleman said the Covid-19 crisis will also be a hunger crisis.

“We are deeply concerned about the impact the lockdown will have on our farmland communities. We must act today,” she said.

The PHA Food and Farming Campaign started the food drive to support 1 550 vulnerable families in the PHA with food baskets during the national lockdown. These families are farmworkers, labour tenants or live in one of the 10 informal settlements in the PHA.

“We aim to support these families via the PHA Family Food basket drive, at R500 per basket. People can also donate R250 for half a basket. One food basket will feed a family of four for one week,” said Nazeer Sonday, chairperson of the PHA Food and Farming Campaign.

Mr Sonday said after extensive consultation, the PHA Food and Farming Campaign, who have been active in the Philippi area for 12 years, estimated that approximately 1 550 families will go hungry during the Covid-19 lockdown.

“Spaza shops have closed, piecemeal work opportunities are scarce, school feeding systems have closed and the food distribution systems in the informal settlements have been decimated by the lockdown regulations. Unemployment, already a problem in informal settlements, is more entrenched,” he said.

Mr Sonday said farm labour tenants, although exempt from lockdown, are facing a grim struggle as the numbers of people they support on low wages have now grown.

“One worker supports four other people, including her or himself. The PHA informal settlement and labour tenant communities have a 50% unemployment rate and in one informal settlement alone, 900 children are no longer benefiting from the school feeding schemes. Most of the PHA communities depend on temporary work, such as domestic or construction work, and they will be without money. People who depend on farmworkers will be most affected.

“Farmworkers are the same people who are ensuring that despite this virus, everyone in the Western Cape will be able to continue to put food on the table in the future. This is an essential service. Let us support them,” said Mr Sonday .

All donations will go towards buying the food. The PHA Food and Farming Campaign is a public benefit organisation (PBO) and are able to issue an 18A exemption receipt on request. The necessary precautions are taken to ensure that the virus is not spread through contact with the baskets.

Donations can be made by visiting vegkopfarm.com/foodsecurity or call Nazeer Sonday on 072
724 3465 or Susanna Coleman on 082 811 0427 or email suscoleman@gmail.com for more information.