Much-needed food relief provided during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Social Development (DSD) is providing thousands of needy South Africans with a daily, healthy meal through its countrywide community nutrition and development centres (CNDCs).
According to the department’s Mondli Mbhele, there are 212 CNDCs countrywide that cook and serve lunch to vulnerable individuals, five days a week.
“More than 13 million people are considered food insecure in South Africa. An adequate, healthy diet that satisfies humans’ needs for energy and all essential nutrients is provided by the CNDCs,” he adds.
The programme reaches poor and vulnerable communities living below the poverty line, and provides skills development to women and unemployed youth to help them form social enterprises.
The CNDCs’ cooks are qualified in basic food safety and regularly undertake additional training. All other employees complete an annual in-house training course on safe food practices and hold a basic food handling practices certificate.
The CNDCs receive bulk food from the Provincial Food Distribution Centre at least twice a month. They also buy ingredients from local food producers, such as community vegetable gardens.
Mbhele says the training that cooks receive ensures that they plan, prepare, cook and store meals in accordance with food safety regulations.
“Food choices are considered very carefully, to provide a menu that is sensitive to everyone’s needs and reflects the cultural differences that exist within our communities,” he adds.
Martha Susiwe Tau, the founder of the Vuk’uzenzele CNDC based in Thaba Nchu in the Free State, says the centre feeds about 170 beneficiaries daily.
Due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic, meals are no longer served at the centre. They are made up into food parcels, that people take home.
“In the past, people used to sit and eat here,” says Tau.
Mbhele says the CNDCs also help to develop local economies as they ensure food security. “Through the programme, we are also promoting local economic development by procuring food from emerging food producers,” he says.
For more information on the CNDCs, contact the department at 012 312 7727.