Hunger relief is being provided to Nelson Mandela Bay residents across all 60 wards through an initiative of the Church Leaders Network supported by the Transformation Christian Network (TCN).
According to TCN spokesperson Trevor Jennings there are already more than 50 anchor churches in nearly 50 wards which will be coordinating the distribution of food to the needy in partnership with FoodForward South Africa.
Research by FoodForward has found that South Africa produces enough food to ensure that no-one has to go to bed hungry.
However, some 50% of agricultural produce and 30% of all food produced is wasted, leaving 14 million people hungry.
Founded in 2009, the organisation sources, collects, stores and distributes food from the whole supply chain, including commercial farmers, retailers and wholesalers.
It has been active in Port Elizabeth, but with the support of the churches even more food will be distributed directly to the poor, according to Jennings.
“The churches are closest to the communities they serve, and they know where the needs are,” he says.
All “anchor” churches participating in the food distribution partnership have to be registered as a non-profit or public benefit organisation.
They also need to comply with Covid-19 regulations, and must have certified storage facilities, as well as authorisation to travel to distribute food.
All staff and volunteers working with the food are required to complete training through FoodForward SA.
Representatives from “sister” churches collect food by prior arrangement in order to ensure that as many of the poor as possible are fed.
“The metro has over 126 informal settlements, which means that we have to use every resource available in order to reach the poor and hungry,” says Jennings.