According to FoodForward SA, a non-profit organisation established in 2009, one third of all food produced in South Africa goes to landfills, while 14 million people go hungry every day. In an attempt to alleviate this sad reality, the organisation’s mission is to help reduce hunger in the country through the safe and cost-effective recovery and distribution of quality edible surplus food from the consumer goods supply chain to a network of 530 community organisations that aid vulnerable groups and those in need, focusing on areas like aged and disability care, Early Childhood Development (ECD), home based care for orphans & vulnerable children, school aftercare programmes, and shelters. Collectively, these organisations reach over 200 000 people a day.
“After researching various Mandela Day programmes, we came across the FoodForward SA packing event and we immediately knew that this was how we wanted to spend our 67 minutes,” states Kgothatso Ntsie, marketing and communications manager at thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions South Africa. “The initiative embodies the thyssenkrupp culture of giving back and, as this year marks the tenth anniversary of Mandela Day, we decided to go all out.”
In the weeks leading up to Mandela Day, thyssenkrupp employees generously donated money and non-perishable foods in the spirit of the Mandela Day values of ‘Take Action, Inspire Change’. An enthusiastic thyssenkrupp team gathered at Gallagher Convention Centre in Midrand, Johannesburg, ready to donate their 67 minutes. Sibongile Mtsweni, senior procurement officer; Qhama Tom, manager project management office; Maria Sorota, engineering facilitator trainee; and Tiisetso Tsotetsi, graduate: strategy markets and development; and led by Ntsie, rolled up their sleeves to assist FoodForward SA in packing collected goods for distribution to the needy.
The FoodForward SA hall was pulsating with excitement as volunteers waited eagerly to start the packing process. Following a brief introductory video and explanations on the do’s and don’ts of packing the food items, participants got to work. Teamwork and respect for the cause were evident as people helped one another.
Taking it one step further, Ntsie and her team delivered the food donated by thyssenkrupp employees to the FoodForward SA head office in Germiston, Johannesburg, on 24th July. Ntsie expresses that it was heart-warming to see the employees band together to support such a good cause. “The event was not only fun, but it taught us to appreciate the hard work that goes into food collection and distribution. The joy of knowing that our humble contributions will help to make a positive impact, no matter how small, in underprivileged communities is truly rewarding.”
“In the true essence of Mandela Day, thyssenkrupp is proud to be a part of the solution in helping to reduce hunger in disadvantaged communities in our country,” notes Philipp Nellessen, thyssenkrupp Industrial Solutions CEO, Sub-Saharan Africa. “This goal is something that we must not only live on Mandela Day but carry it forward each and every day.”