Last year was, by far, one of the most difficult for our local communities. An unending lockdown meant that many single-headed families lost their jobs and only sources of income, while travel bans also led to the loss of contributions they receive from local hospitality businesses in their areas. There have been so many mouths to feed and an urgent responsibility to help in any ways we can.
Under these extraordinary circumstance, we had to drastically alter our approach to community support and refocus on the changing needs in our communities. Several More Community Trust projects were paused and we shifted our focus to providing food parcels to vulnerable families in the villages where we run these projects, as well as our MORE Family Collection staff.In Africa, we say ‘it takes a village’ (to achieve something) and our More Community Trust donors, together with our ever-loyal partners and sponsors, helped us provide for our people in a crisis that threatened their most basic needs. Through our food parcel campaigns, we received generous donations from individuals and businesses near and far that kept our efforts going.In Zimbabwe’s Woodlands village, 650 people benefitted from three rounds of food parcels – packed and delivered at no extra cost by Pick n Pay Victoria Falls. In South Africa, together with individual donations, Mkhuhlu Plaza sponsored food vouchers that allowed us to feed 281 families in Huntington and Justicia villages for three months!
In addition, the Plaza continued their support through our Santa Food Parcel Campaign, brining vulnerable families food parcels for the Festive Season. We also joined the Sabi Sand NPO Forum (an extraordinary collaborative effort) and successfully applied to the HCI Foundation for 1 000 food parcels. They were distributed by the NPOs and fed over 5 500 beneficiaries in several villages.
Even before the crisis, many families were reliant on school meal programmes to help feed their children. But with everyone struggling to survive the economic impact of the pandemic, many schools didn’t have the funds to continue these programmes after the July holidays. So More Community Trust stepped in to feed the children of Khurula High School, Motshabaesi and Heuningvley primary schools, Itekeng Basha Preschool, and our own Henna Preschool.
Within our own MORE Family Collection, we also assisted general staff from every business unit. As a tourism business in an industry so severely cut off, no one was unaffected. The staff received either a Checkers/Shoprite voucher or food parcel delivery every month from April to August 2020.
The response from both our communities and staff was overwhelming. We quickly realised the depth of the struggle in households – which was greatly lessened by the extraordinary generosity we received.
Words by: Michelle Scott and Jade Crocket