2018 Off to a Flying start

Challenges & Opportunities

Our project has continued to serve the children of the Garden Route for the last 15 years because of the faithful and generous support we receive from our donors around the world. This news update is sent to inform and thank our  donors and our amazing volunteers. 

Economists tell us that we should always have a little bit of extra cash available, for  two reasons. The first is that we may suddenly be confronted with an unexpected problem. The second is that we may suddenly be confronted with  an exciting opportunity.

In the first part of this year, both of these have happened to our project - both the challenge and the opportunity. 

Fortunately very generous donations in the latter part of last year meant  that we had enough funding to cope with both. 

The challenge was a sudden and unavoidable price increase of e’Pap, which is the overwhelming majority of our cost base. Thanks to our donors we have been able to cope with this challenge and still have some cash available for the unexpected opportunity. Actually it is opportunities rather than opportunity, as there were three.

Firstly, we were asked to assist in feeding at pre-primary schools in George, some 60 kilometers West of Knysna. Here we are working in partnership with the George Child and Family Welfare who will handle the distribution and a company called DataDot who is providing warehousing on a pro bono basis in addition to funding some of the e'Pap.  Together we will be providing over 100,000 servings of e’Pap to over 400 pre-primary age children in the Thembalethu township.  

A second new initiative is very different in that it focuses on boys who are out of school and unemployed, but let Shelley tell the story:  

"Today Nicky Rutherfoord, one of our team, and I went up to start giving the boys of “Hands & Hearts” their first e’Pap breakfast. Hands and Hearts is a skills development centre, run by Youth for Christ. They teach boys practical skills such as metalwork, plumbing, and carpentry. At the end of each 9 month course every student has a fully equipped tool box and the skills to use them, enabling them to seek work in the local community. This amazing project develops the boys in the physical, mental, spiritual and motivational realms. 

Many of these youngsters come from disadvantaged backgrounds and come in in the morning without having had breakfast. They receive a cup of coffee at 9:30 am and a sandwich at midday. We were asked to provide something more nourishing to start their day. What a delighted to see the boys tuck into their first bowl of e’Pap this morning and know that they will be better able to concentrate on their work during the day.”

Over this period we have also started at two new schools in Knysna - one a primary school class in Hornlee and the second a school for children with severe handicaps, such as Autism, Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. Although, initially quite heart wrenching, soon the atmosphere of joy and calm put us at at ease. A very new, but very fulfilling opportunity to serve children.

Of course, responding to these opportunities needed money, but it was not only money that was needed. In addition, we needed partners in George and new volunteers in Knysna. Happily when the partners were needed, they were there. When the extra volunteers were needed, they were there. Our project has been blessed with extra resources - money, time and talent. It is the combination of these three that has got 2018 off to a wonderful start.

Feeding now takes place over a distance of nearly 100 kilometers along the Cape South Coast covering over 100 schools. We plan to provide over 800,000 meals in 2018.