At the end of April 2020, an initiative was launched to alleviate the plight of the Joe Slovo residents during the dark times brought on by COVID-19. With the nation under strict lockdown and unemployment skyrocketing, Century City Property Owners’ Association (CCPOA), Rabie Property Group and Century City Conference Centre and Hotel launched the Century City Feed-A-Family initiative.
The objective of the initiative is to procure, pack and distribute food hampers to feed a family of four for a month, directly to the homes of Joe Slovo residents.
The operations and logistics are managed by the Century City Conference Centre and Hotel, which have not been without challenges.
“We first had to find our feet in terms of the distribution and found an incredible partner in the Western Cape Red Cross Society, whose volunteers should have superhero status.” Says Glyn Taylor, joint CEO Century City Conference Centre and Hotel. “We further had to navigate through the inner hierarchy of the community and were impressed by the help of community members in assisting us in finding our way. We have been slowed down by protests and days of heavy rain, but we continue earnestly. Each food hamper is placed into the hands of a hungry family. Our motivation is to reduce the amount of families who go to bed without a meal.”
The initial goal was to distribute 5 000 food hampers, with the eventual intent to assist as many hungry families as possible, finance permitting.
“We are completely overwhelmed by the support we received from so many individuals and firms who contributed generously. As a result, we’ve raised over R2,7-million to date. The need remains dire and even though we cannot help everyone, we would like to reach as many families as possible.” Says Leon Cohen, CEO of Rabie. “With no management fees or packing and delivering charges applicable, every Rand contributed goes towards those that need it the most. We have delivered 4 500 food hampers thus far, which is sufficient to feed 18 000 people, and will continue with our efforts until we have exhausted our funding.”
The first hampers were distributed to the learners of Sinenjongo High School, who depended on meals received at the school. Due to lockdown, there was a great concern for the learners and their families.
“We were overcome by the generosity that made it possible for our learners to take food home to their families.” says Mrs Nopote, Principal of Sinenjongo High School. “We did not know where our learners and their families would find their next meal, with no parents able to work, except for those in essential services. Our learners are very grateful towards everyone who made Century City Feed-A-Family a reality.”
Sylvester, a grade 12 learner from Sinenjongo High School expressed his thanks “I was so happy when we received the food parcel because we did not have a source of income. I was stressed when the lockdown started, as it took away the meal that we received at school by the feeding scheme. The food parcel received from Century City Feed-A-Family closed the gap not only for me, but for other learners as well. It was not just a food parcel, but what was inside that meant more than words. Some of the items we received, we usually cannot afford to buy. Milk for instance, is a luxury for us, as we are used to eating porridge without milk. We are so grateful to have companies that care about us during difficult times and who ensure that we have a decent, healthy meal every day.”