In light of Arbor Week, Checkers has partnered Food and Trees for Africa and 11 community organisations, to help upgrade existing food gardens and establish new ones to address food security needs in communities facing serious food security challenges.
Consumers can also get involved by simply donating R5 or more to the chain’s #ActForChange Fund at Checkers or Checkers Hyper stores across the country. The proceeds raised from September donations will be used by Food and Trees for Africa to establish sustainable food gardens in communities in need.
Hunger relief is a core focus of the retailer’s corporate social investment programme, which aims to provide effective and sustainable solutions to address short, medium and long-term food scarcity needs in South Africa. The Group donates surplus food from each of its stores to the tune of more than R100 million every year, while its fleet of mobile soup kitchens addresses the immediate needs of communities around the country every week. Food gardens have been introduced as a way of ensuring that feeding schemes become self-sustainable as well as a means of generating additional income from the produce grown.
The phenomenal women from the Wathint’ Abafazi Sustainable Food Garden in Bethelsdorp, Eastern Cape, started a feeding scheme in 2013 for children in need who attended their crèche. Today, the project is able to feed over 200 people from the produce in the food garden grown on a piece of land secured via the local council to supplement the projects ongoing feeding scheme.
With an investment from the Shoprite Group, further infrastructure developments are currently being undertaken to make the garden more sustainable for the project and the community. Both vegetables and flowers are being grown with some produce already being sold at the local Checkers supermarket as a means of generating income for the project.
The Ekukhuseleni / Tshireletso Hospice in Winterveld, Gauteng operates seven days a week, providing palliative home based care to families infected and affected by HIV/Aids. The centre also doubles-up as an After-Care Feeding Scheme for children in the surrounding community. In addition to this, the Hospice provides food parcels to the families of patients receiving home-based care.
A food garden was established in 2004 to supplement the extensive feeding scheme at the Hospice. However, with increasing need from the community, the garden could not maintain its support in its current state. Checkers has taken hands with the Hospice to improve the garden so that it is better positioned to cater to the growing needs in this community.
Similar sustainable food garden projects are on the go in KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State and the Western Cape, and with customer contributions from the #ActForChange Fund this September, more gardens can be established to alleviate hunger in the country.
To get involved, go to Checkers.co.za
or @Checkers_SA on Facebook and Twitter: #ActForChange #CheckersArborWeek2016