Last year more than 1000 East Londoners donned hairnets, rolled up their sleeves and packed 305000 meals as part of a global Stop Hunger Now campaign.
Now the call has gone out for volunteers to surpass that number this year.
The campaign is a worldwide initiative to fill empty stomachs and was launched in America 18 years ago. Like last year, the East London base for the campaign is Hemingways Mall and, like last year, the Daily Dispatch is the initiative’s media partner.
Hemingways has put out a call to individuals, businesses and charities to once again spend their 67 Mandela Day minutes on filling bags with nourishing food.
The mall’s general manager Reinette van Tonder said the idea was to pack even more meals this year. Van Tonder said the mall would kick off its 2017 “Rise 4 Good” campaign with its first corporate event on Saturday, July 8. This would be followed by the main Mandela Day meal packing event on July 15, when Miss World contestants, as well as the organisation’s Eastern Cape patron, Mandla Mandela, will grace the occasion.
“The concept is very straightforward,” she explained. “Companies sponsor the costs of a ‘production line’ and their employees or any other individuals can volunteer to spend 67 minutes helping to pack meals during one of four sessions during the day.”
Daily Dispatch acting general manager Ryan Megaw said the newspaper is thrilled to be part of the campaign once again.
“This campaign is a wonderful way to get the whole community involved in the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Last year several of our past Local Hero Award recipients were beneficiaries of Stop Hunger Now food donations.
“For us at the Daily Dispatch it was incredibly rewarding to see our Local Heroes benefiting from such a worthy initiative and we thank our partners at Stop Hunger Now and Hemingways Mall for making this possible.
“We look forward to all the good news stories to come this year.”
Last year production lines manned by eager, hairnetted volunteers raced to pack as many meal packs containing rice, soya, soup mix and a vitamin supplement as possible in the allotted time. Egged on by an energetic MC and pumping music, the 67 minutes flew by as boxes filled up for distribution to a variety of beneficiaries via established feeding programmes.
Since the beginning of this month the mall has been the Eastern Cape headquarters of the non-profit organisation, which co-ordinates corporate sponsors and individual volunteers to pack nutritious meals for those who most need them.
Stop Hunger Now SA CEO Saira Khan described the relationship with Hemingways Mall as “enthusiastic and supportive”.
“We see this branch playing an important role in ending hunger in the province and partnerships like this make a huge impact in doing so.”
Anyone wanting to respond to the challenge by contributing R12000 per production line can call Nadia Reddy on 011-872-2498 or e-mail email@example.com