What has been remarkable about the Covid-19 pandemic and the resultant lockdown has been how one of the industries hardest hit has also stepped in to help where it’s most needed.
We’ve seen how Chefs with Compassion has cooked litres and litres of soup for underprivileged communities, and how proceeds from Chef Jason Whitehead’s lockdown cookbook have gone to Streetscapes, as well as many other examples. Chef Jackie Cameron has been doing her part in the KZN Midlands together with Wonderbag founder Sarah Collins and Carolyn Hancock.
The three formed Feeding the Future two years ago, but the initiative has really come into its own over the lockdown. Feeding the Future aims to bring real change for the communities that live in vulnerable, under-serviced areas in KwaZulu-Natal. They do this by using food as a means of bringing communities together to not only eat a nutritious meal but to also engage with each other and address key social issues and challenges pre-identified by women from the affected communities. These sessions are facilitated and guided by experts, doctors, rape counsellors, and afterschool teachers.
Their main focus has been Thembelihle School in Howick and Angels’ Care Centre, which is chaired by Carolyn Hancock. From these bases, they handed out family food parcels and meals to children, comprising two filled sandwiches, fruit, yoghurt and boiled eggs. Jackie has offered support in designing Angel Care Centre’s new kitchen, and together with her students from Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, she’s designed a healthy, well-balanced two-week menu with recipes and eating plans. When warm food is served, it’s kept piping hot by using WonderBags – very much needed with this cold winter we’ve had.
Over the lockdown, there was a need for assistance in other areas such as the Mama Nthombi area in the Pietermaritzburg area. Jackie’s students pitched in to help with sandwiches, made in their home kitchens to take the pressure off the Angels’ Care Centre. In the Sweetwaters area, which is close to Jackie’s school, Jackie has partnered with Theuns Pauw from African Enterprise to help provide Recipe4Resilience kits.
The kits comprise Wonderbags, which have been subsidised by Sarah Collins, filled with food parcels. The food parcels are valued at R175 and are funded through donations which Jackie has raised awareness about through media and social media. They’ve been able to send out hundreds and hundreds of food and fresh produce to people most in need over lockdown, to some of the neediest in the area.
Jackie and the Feeding the Future team are calling for donations from the public to sponsor the kits, as well as to suppliers to donate produce, both dry and fresh. “There’s a crisis at the moment, but it’s an ongoing issue,” says Jackie. “There’s no donation too small to help!”
Luckily, the Eat Out Relief Fund’s donation and support from the Do More Foundation has allowed Jackie and her team to continue to do their great work, and as they receive more donations, they’ll scale up the feeding scheme.
To find out more information, or to help with donations, please get in touch with Jackie by emailing her here.