With food inflation reaching nearly 10% by the end of the first quarter of 2016, a full shopping basket is a luxury for many people. According to Statistics South Africa as many as 16% of South Africans had inadequate access to food while for 6% access was severely inadequate.
In response to this challenge, Sun International is partnering with the local division of the international organisation Stop Hunger Now, to pack and distribute 2-million nutritious meals locally and 10-million across the world to mark International Mandela Day.
The meal packing campaign, entitled Follow the Sun, will take place between Wednesday 13 July and Wednesday 20 Julyat five Sun International properties, namely Sun City, GrandWest in Cape Town, The Boardwalk in Port Elizabeth, Carnival City in Johannesburg and Sibaya in KwaZulu Natal. The seven-day operation is intended to commemorate Mandela Day and South Africa’s most loved citizen’s particular focus on our country’s children and their wellbeing.
Mrs Graça Machel is Chief Patron of Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa.
Michael Farr, Group General Manager for Sun International Brand and Communications said, “Today, one in nine people around the world are undernourished, and as many as many as 45% of children under the age of five die as a result of malnutrition. It is distressing that 23-million primary school children in Africa still go to school hungry and that over 3-million of these children live in South Africa.
“Sun International’s social investment programmes focus on education as an effective social equaliser, but a hungry child can’t be expected to learn. If our children are to have any chance of reaching their potential, then nutrition is very clearly the starting point.”
Research indicates that hunger is the result of both poverty and food insecurity. Among the many factors affecting the provision of food in South Africa are changing weather patterns causing droughts or floods, agricultural insecurity and the volatility of the rand which in turn drives up food inflation. Recent research from Statistics South Africa also indicates that food accounts for more than 40% of South Africa’s most economically challenged peoples’ overall expenses
To supplement the campaign, Farr called on Sun International’s concessionaires, suppliers, contractors, customers and anyone who is interested in doing their bit to fight hunger, to Follow the Sun by visiting the Stop Hunger Now website and filling in the registration form: http://www.stophungernow.org/south-africas-million-meal-challenge-for-mandela-day/
Volunteers can lend a helping hand at the various Sun International and other properties nationally, where they can assist with packing dried goods such as Soya, Rice, 23 Vitamins and Minerals and a Soup Mix to be delivered to hungry children around South Africa.
Sun International will enter 15 teams of 20 at each of its five properties. Each team member will spend 67 minutes commemorating Nelson Mandela by packing products into meal boxes, which will ultimately feed a child for an entire year. The significance of 67 minutes refers to every year of Nelson Mandela’s life spent in public service, between 1942 and 2009 when the Nelson Mandela Foundation first introduced Mandela Day.
“With over 3-million children going to bed chronically hungry each night in South Africa, it is paramount that organisations like ourselves continue to do more so that we can eradicate hunger in this country. We are grateful to our strategic partners Sun International, Connecting Africa, the Mandela Centre of Memory, as well as the many other corporates who are honouring Mandela’s legacy this Mandela Day by packaging meals for vulnerable children,” says Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa CEO Saira Khan.
“This global event is the first of its kind, in which we use Sun International’s facilities to get Corporate South Africa to volunteer their time to package nutritious meals for children. We challenge Corporate South Africa to get on board and make this a reality with the rest of the world! #FollowTheSun
Stop Hunger Now Southern Africa is an affiliate of the international organisation formed in the USA in 1998. The volunteer-based food packing programme seeks to address the nutritional needs of children, especially in early childhood development centres.