News

Once more into the breach

Writer Elaine Davie

While many of us complain about not being able to visit our favourite coffee shop or restaurant, and wonder how we will survive Level 4 lockdown without another bottle of wine, there are those, where the tyre meets the tar, who once again (or still) wonder how they will continue to survive at all. Period.

Sadly, as Angela Heslop, chairperson of the Hermanus branch of Red Cross SA points out, “In our community, like thousands of similar communities around the world, the underlying causes of food insecurity are poverty, unemployment and inconsistent access to healthy food in sufficient quantities. We need to look no further than neighbourhoods like Mount Pleasant and Zwelihle, especially the informal settlements there.”

For 11 months last year a number of organisations in the Overstrand pulled out all the stops to mitigate the food crisis caused by Covid-19. Amongst these were Red Cross and Food4Love, in collaboration with the Overstrand Municipality’s Disaster Relief Project. Literally thousands of households, with a particular focus on children and the elderly, were fed each day from formal and informal soup kitchens across the region, and food parcels and food vouchers delivered to them.

“Of course,” Angela adds, “this was a case of crisis management. For real food security to be achieved, families need to grow their own food and the OM, too, is keen to promote this, together with a number of informal initiatives. But while there has been progress – and we have donated thousands of seeds towards the project – it will not take place overnight. Fortunately, many generous donors supported our food relief project last year and since we still had some money left, we at Red Cross, together with Food4Love, decided to use it for food relief during this Level 4 lockdown period.”

As she points out, schools are closed again, depriving the children of a daily meal, jobs are being lost or downscaled and a new factor has come into the poverty-related mix – some families have lost a breadwinner to Covid. Food Lovers Market has come to the party by donating loads of bread, as has a generous farmer in the Ceres district who provides all the onions and carrots they need. Red Cross purchases additional ingredients and Tulip Café is cooking up litres upon litres of soup on a voluntary basis.

The co-ordinating team, consisting of Natalie Munro of Food4Love, William Ntebe and Angela herself have been delivering 30 litres of soup five days a week to between 160 and 180 patients, as well as children passing by, at the Hermanus CDC in Swartdam Road, and 30 litres a day dispensed from a mobile van to around 150 informal settlement residents. In addition, they are providing seven community kitchens catering for an average of 100 children and adults each day with raw vegetables, stock cubes and gas bottles.

They will continue with this project until 14 July, when the President will no doubt be making an announcement about either the curtailment or continuation of Level 4 restrictions. If it is the former, they will continue for as long as they have the means after that. Further donations in cash or in kind as well as assistance from volunteers will be greatly welcomed. In the meantime, they will continue to be involved with the gardening project for longer-term food security.

Angela Heslop can be contacted on 072 609 8655 and Natalie Munro on 076 970 4175. The bank details, for anyone who would like to make a donation are:

SA Red Cross, Standard Bank, Acc
no. 082261938, Branch no. 050-312,
SWIFT Code SBZAZAJJ, Reference:
Covid-19/FOOD4LOVE

May 08 World Red Cross Day

World Red Cross Day is observed every year on 8 May. The occasion is marked to celebrate the principles, history, values, and impact of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

On this day, people pay tribute to members and volunteers of the organisation who contribute to humanitarian work. World Red Cross Day History:

Swiss humanitarian Henry Dunant’s book Memory of Solferino about the suffering at Italy’s Battle of Solferino gave rise to several relief societies. This later transformed into the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement. The day 8 May has been selected as the World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day in honour of Dunant as it is his birth anniversary. Dunant received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901 for his contribution to humanitarian acts. The occasion was first called World Red Cross Day but later transformed in 1984 to World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

World Red Cross Day Significance:

After World War I, the tradition to celebrate an annual Red Cross day was established and it was called Red Cross Truce. The day is significant as it celebrates the spirit of the volunteers to provide medical help to everyone without any discrimination. During wars or epidemics, the Red Cross Society not only provides people with healthcare but also with other kinds of assistance.

World Red Cross Day 2021:

This year, the theme of World Red Cross Day is ‘unstoppable’. The day aims to celebrate their long journey and also reaffirm their commitment towards the humanitarian mission.

As per the official website, the COVID-19 pandemic reinforces the significance of their entire movement. ICRC is working with the local societies to provide a coordinated response towards this crisis.

F4L provided 1 million + meals

Since the National Lockdown came into effect more than a year ago, the local Red Cross Society and Food 4 Love have provided more than 1 million meals to people in need across the Greater Hermanus. Food 4 Love (F4L) was a “spontaneous civil society” effort that came into being when ordinary citizens sprang into action to provide meals to those adversely affected by the lockdown. F4L closed its operations at the end of February. The effects of the devastating riots in Hermanus area in 2018, combined with the effects of lockdown less than two years later, say Angela Heslop, chairperson of Red Cross Society’s branch in Hermanus, and F4L founder Natalie Munro, highlighted resource inequalities among the communities. They report that funds for lockdown relief efforts were received from local and international donors.

Around 125 volunteers packed essential vegetables and maize into multi-meal packs. “In April 2020, they packed 1 800 packs a day, jumping to 2 620 in May. In all 1 054 000 meals were packed. “Our food packs provided the basis for a family to feed itself,” says Munro. F4L, says Munro, also provided a sense of community for volunteers and recipients. “The unprecedented nature and scale of the disaster generated a collaborative all-hands-on-deck spirit.” Distribution was managed by William Ntebe, who reports that delivery was cancelled just once. Heslop says relief efforts were dealt a serious blow in September 2020 when it was announced that municipal funds supporting Overstrand soup kitchens would be “redirected” to “community vegetable gardens”. Heslop and Munro stressed the urgent need for a thorough poverty assessment. In collaboration with the Hermanus Varsity Trust (HVT), Munro has proposed a Veg House to teach people about self-sufficiency and gardening and has reached out to the wealth of farming wisdom in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley. Heslop notes that a November survey saw people learn digital skills using cellphones.

This work continues in SharpDigital, a NPO in Zwelihle. “Further collaboration may indeed be feasible with HVT,” she added. “This has been an invigorating experience of a local community coming together,” said Heslop. “We urge Overstrand leadership to appreciate the value of this. It must make a commitment to broad consultation about what happens in the Overstrand, a vision everyone feels a part of.”

Article by Hermanus Times


Easter treat for children

Dozens of children were treated to hotdogs and sweets on Easter Monday.

Dozens of children were treated to hotdogs and sweets on Easter Monday.

There was a festive air in Mount Pleasant on Easter Monday as children from the area and Hawston lined up for special treats. The event, organised by local resident Charline Cornelius with the help of sponsors and volunteers, managed to bring some Easter cheer to dozens of children. The event began with prayers and a short message by two local pastors. Everyone received a hotdog and a box of goodies.

They were also treated to a special performance by a local dance group. Angela Heslop and Natalie Munro from Food4Love and the Red Cross Society also attended. “Food4Love and Red Cross sponsored this event with some of the remaining Food Relief money,” said Heslop. Cornelius thanked all the sponsors and volunteers who contributed to the day’s success. “With the help of the sponsors I also managed to hand out treats to the staff at Golden Harvest,” she added. “Thank you to everyone who made this possible.”

Article by Hermanus Times

FoodforLove 2021: Report on Food relief in Greater Hermanus

Please read the full report in Projects

Making Digital Work for EVERYONE

SHARP DIGITAL AND HERMANUS RED CROSS

Since July last year, we have been working closely with SHARP Digital (a registered non-profit based in Hermanus who is working to turn the tide onthe digital divide).

In addition to providing some much needed financial support to the non-profit,we also worked together on an important data collection project. This was designed to help Food4Love and the Hermanus Red Cross find the best way to digitally track the food distribution across Greater Hermanus while building the digital skills of some people in the community at the same time.

DATA COLLECTION PROJECT- MILESTONES

  • September 2020 . SHARP Digital created a new course on digital datacollection called COLLECT, SAVE and USE (by 9 February 2021, 53individuals had taken the course).
  • September and October 2020 - SHARP Digital ran three workshops with Food 4 Love and survey enumerators.
  • November 2020 - Digital survey was conducted across Hermanus and Zwelihle.
  • RESULTS - CLICK HERE

MORE ABOUT SHARP DIGITAL

SHARP Digital provides FREE digital learning on smartphones to teenagers, adults, and women and girls providing the actionable skills needed to look for work, to learn and to make their lives easier. For more information on the problem they are solving, see this recent Daily Maverick article.

DONATIONS:
SHARP Digital
FNB Current account:
62848347680
Sort code:
200412
Swift code:
FIRNZAJJ