Within a week of the coronavirus lockdown in South Africa in 2020, Mhani Gingi was delivering hundreds of meals to hungry communities in Cape Town. The organisation continued throughout 2020 to expand its activities in food sovereignty through community soup kitchens and urban food production. Mhani Gingi increased the number of community food kitchens delivering meals to hungry communities to 13 and by the year-end was planting new community vegetable gardens to grow food and provide an income for vulnerable people. Through new partnerships which were formed, Mhani Gingi was able to extend its support to more survivors of gender-based violence and to more destitute children.
For every individual that has been directly impacted through either the soup or the gardening initiatives of Mhani Gingi, another five people have been impacted.
At least 55 000 people were impacted during the last four months of 2020 alone. Weekly donations of supplies for the soup kitchens received from the Ladles of Love initiative helped to boost Mhani Gingi’s capacity to feed people who were affected by the loss of jobs and income during the caronavirus lockdown, as well as by the closure of schools where their children received a daily meal.
First quarter of 2020
From a week into the first lockdown in South Africa, Mhani Gingi had three community soup stations in operation, delivering meals to around 100 to 200 people per week in Uitsig-Ravensmead, about 100 people per week in Retreat through partnership with Blouvlei School for Learners with Special Needs, and about another 250 people per week in Athlone-Mannenberg. A new partner, Gladys Gobodo, catered for 50 destitute children in Mannenberg.
Produce from ten community food gardens managed by Mhani Gingi, impacting a total of 78 direct beneficiaries working at the gardens, helped to supply produce for the nutritious meals that were served. Each of those directly impacted by the community gardens impact at least five others at their home and in the community at large, which also benefits.
The remarkable team from Uitsig Community who provided about 200 meals twice a week to residents and children in the Uitsig-Ravensmead area through 2020, maintain two productive community food gardens. One is situated at Uitsig Primary School and the other at Uitsig Community Centre. Some of this team of 25 people are in wheelchairs. The meals they prepared for distribution included produce harvested from the two gardens.
Mhani Gingi supervises other community food gardens at Blouvlei School for Learners with Special Needs in Retreat; Langa Cheshire Home for Disabled Adults in Langa; and the South African Red Cross and Zimasa Primary School in Langa.
Weekly donations of supplies from Ladles of Love from May, which were increased to twice-weekly deliveries later, enabled Mhani Gingi to deliver more meals to more people as the year progressed. An additional soup outlet added through a partnership with Ons Plek shelter for girl street children in Observatory added another 34 to 40 beneficiaries who received a meal per week.
Further support from Ladles of Love saw the opening of the Mhani Gingi Satellite Community Food Station, situated at the Mhani Gingi Centre for Social Entrepreneurial Excellence in Athlone, on 31 August 2020. The refurbished and better equipped Satellite Community Food Kitchen enabled Mhani Gingi to streamline operations and delivery of supplies to the Mhani Gingi community soup kitchens dispensing meals in the communities.
Mhani Gingi was awarded the Ladles of Love Community Food Kitchen ‘Sustainable Catering for the People’ certificate for its efforts in delivering about 400 to 600 meals per week to vulnerable communities through the Satellite Community Food Station.
As the coronavirus pandemic intensified at the year-end, the organisation ventured into new collaborations with shelters for women and with organisations supporting youth and children. These partnerships enabled Mhani Gingi to support further soup stations through the Mhani Gingi Satellite Community Food Station. The new projects expanded the number of community food gardens supervised by Mhani Gingi to 14 and extended its support to more survivors of gender-based violence and to more vulnerable youth and street children.
New community food production initiatives
Four new community food gardens were established by Mhang Gingi in November-December 2020, in partnership with Victory Outreach Christian Recovery Home (VOCRH) in Athlone, TAG in Mannenberg, and Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children in Athlone. The gardens equip women and youth with gardening skills and incomes so that they are empowered once they leave the protection of shelters. Another new garden started at a site in Langa by LEAP Maths and Science School will serve the elderly and hopefully revive a further soup kitchen.
Preparing the site at Saartjie Baartman Centre for Women and Children for a food garden.
The site of the Kuyasa project in Langa which has been developed into a food garden by LEAP Science and Maths schools.