So much is happening and changing on a daily basis that we feel it is important for us to update you on what e’Pap is doing during Lockdown, and how your support is being put to work to feed those in need.
For us the biggest challenge is that the schools are closed and our normal method of distribution does not work. In addition many, ourselves included, are in the vulnerable category – over 65 with chronic health issues. Despite the magnitude of these two hurdles, some really amazing solutions have materialized. New resources have appeared from seemingly nowhere to help with the challenges. And fortunately people who distribute emergency food are regarded as being in critical occupations. Hence they can distribute despite the lockdown. So a fair amount of distribution is happening.
Here are some examples.
- Our partners in George are working with the Municipality who have established distribution points. We have provided substantial quantities of e’Pap as our contribution to this effort.
- In Karatara, our volunteer Theo usually operates a Christian holiday club for the children in the rural areas during school holidays and knows the community very well. He has been able to continue to distribute an increased amount of e’Pap as well as a small quantity of food parcels and a supply of fortified peanut butter manufactured by the e’Pap supplier.
- A lady from Rheenendal contacted us out of the blue and offered to distribute in her area, where there are two schools we have served for a very long time. She is part of a community action group helping the vulnerable in their area. She and another surprise angel, both young, strong and healthy, are a delight – full of energy and optimism.
- We moved fast to get a number of volunteers to provide extra stocks of e’Pap, before lockdown, to selected school principals and feeding grannies who could feed children living in their immediate vicinity.
- We also in-spanned the help of a friend who normally runs a Township Tours company for tourists ( who have now all disappeared). In the space of one day, Penny organized two strapping young Xhosa men with a minibus to do distribution to the selected staff of pre-schools. These pre-school staff members now have no income at all because their schools are not operating. Our new delivery team, Mbulelo & Lwandolwethu, delivered e’Pap, food parcels plus enriched peanut butter. All of this on Thursday so that food was delivered in-time for the Easter weekend. Subsequently, in the past week, we have been approached by some teachers and principals who want to feed e’Pap from their homes. So we will again be using the services of Mbulelo and Lwando to deliver e’Pap to these willing teachers.
- In Plett a couple of new volunteer distributors have emerged and distribution continues albeit differently. We thank Liz van Niekerk for co-ordinating this for us. She has many plates to keep spinning at the moment, as do we.
- In Knysna, we have distributed a limited number of food parcels, but will be switching to a food voucher as the delivery logistic are much more practical. This is focused on those schools that received no support from the government, Child Welfare or other NGOs
We are hugely grateful for:
- The gift of many brand new temporary volunteers – these volunteers and the timing of their arrival is, as far as we are concerned, a miracle. Thank you God.
- The spirit of co-operation and sharing that is everywhere in evidence in many NGOs and churches who are working as a collective. For that togetherness we are grateful.
- Our suppliers have really bust a gut to get us extra supplies – e’Pap, peanut butter and limited number of food parcels. Gratitude for our committed suppliers. Whilst preparing this document, requests from two further potential distribution partners have reached us.
We constantly pray for wisdom, flexibility and good judgement in allocating our resources.
Despite the fact that our team of volunteers are at this time unable to carry out our normal duties, we are still serving many and turning donor money into healthy food. We greatly look forward to the day when we will all be back serving the community that we love and being able to meet again. Please take great care and stay safe.
The e’Pap team