Shoprite puts the soup on
According to the World Bank’s report, Nutrition at a Glance: South Africa, it is estimated that our country loses about US$ 1,1 billion (R11,87 billion) every year in gross domestic product (GDP) as a result of vitamin and mineral deficiencies arising from malnutrition … but Shoprite is fighting the good fight with its Mobile Soup Kitchen programme.
Since launching its feeding programme in 2007, Shoprite’s fleet of Mobile Soup Kitchens has served 19 million cups of soup to people living in dire circumstances and those who are victims of natural disasters.
“In association with our partners, the Shoprite Mobile Soup Kitchens provide a nutritional meal of fortified soup and bread to approximately 600 000 South Africans per month,” comments Neil Schreuder, Shoprite Checkers marketing director.
Those souping up this wonderful initiative alongside Shoprite include Albany, Sasko, Mercedes-Benz South Africa (SA), Toyota SA, Volkswagen SA and UD Trucks Southern Africa.
Shreuder adds: “The mobile units are also deployed to offer relief to victims of natural disasters, such as floods and fires, in the most affected areas. The supermarket group is aware of the ongoing economic pressures experienced by all South Africans, especially in underprivileged communities, and we believe that our Mobile Soup Kitchens offer not only a cup of soup, but a meal of hope.”
From humble beginnings
Starting off with only two Mobile Soup Kitchens, serving the Gauteng and North West provinces, the programme was gradually extended to 12 units, in order to cover more disadvantaged communities in need across South Africa, the retailer notes.
Today, the fleet has grown to a magnificent 22 units (with an additional ten trucks being added earlier this year). It’s projected that this total will bump up the feeding programme’s reach to more than seven million people – this year alone!
To commemorate these 22 stars (customised with fully-functional kitchens, where the nutritional soup is prepared, and manned by well-trained crew members), Shoprite did what these units do seven days a week, across all nine provinces: it served hundreds of hot meals to those in need.
The formalities took place at its distribution centre in Centurion, Gauteng, but groups were deployed countrywide to spread some hope. Celebrities such as Winnie Khumalo, Dr Malinga, Liezel van der Westhuizen, Ismail Abrahams, Nomonde Vakalisa and Brümilda van Rensburg were thrilled to join Shoprite in making a difference.
The Gauteng beneficiaries that received a visit from the Mobile Soup Kitchens include Tlhakanang Primary School in Tembisa, Bona Lesedi Disability Centre in Diepsloot West and the Danville Liggiehuis in Pretoria.
Beneficiaries in other parts of South Africa included: Tswellang Special Needs School in Bloemfontein; Slindokuhle Soup Kitchen in Joe Slovo, Port Elizabeth; Sijongephambili Early Childhood Development Centre in Lwandle, Cape Town; and Amatikwe Primary School in Inanda, Durban.
Making a real difference
Jeanne Cerff, general manager of food at Mars Africa – producers of Royco Soup, one of the Mobile Soup Kitchens’ sponsors – comments: “In a country where only half of our families have enough food to eat and hunger is a reality (especially among children and the elderly), we believe that the communities served by these mobile soup kitchens benefit from the fortified soup that has been developed specially for this programme.”