Gift of the Givers Food Parcel Project was initiated in October 2002 after the World Summit on Sustainable Development at Nasrec, Johannesburg. It was whilst exhibiting at this event, there appeared a write up in the Sunday Times that 167 children in the Eastern Cape had died of starvation. This situation in a country like South Africa, so rich in resources, was totally unacceptable. Gift of the Givers responded to the hunger crisis in that region and delivered 2000 food parcels to hunger-stricken families.
Minister of Social Development, Dr Zola Skweyiya, witnessed the delivery and was so impressed with the quality, efficiency and capacity of the organisation, that he requested we prepare a proposal for his department on how to spend R400 million in the most cost effective and efficient manner to benefit the rural poor. The delivery of food parcels was the most relevant at this period and was selected as the initial idea from the 9 point proposal given to the Minister. We were then asked to design the contents of the food parcel; this we did and it was whole heartedly accepted. Next we were asked to tender for this food parcel roll out as this is the normal manner in which government functions. We refused. We stated that we are an NGO and not a business, that our advice is free and we are not interested in tendering for any government programme. We were asked 5 times to reconsider our response; we refused.
In February 2003 we received notification that whilst food parcel delivery had gone on tender and awarded to large companies in 7 provinces, the Ministry of Social Development had approached Treasury and requested that tender rules be waived and that Gift of the Givers be appointed as preferred provider in KwaZulu Natal and Eastern Cape. The request was granted. We were given R60 million to roll out 204 000 food parcels in these two provinces. Whilst 5 companies each had to share the food parcel tender in the other provinces, we were the sole provider for the two provinces mentioned. We also set up the system and the logistics that all providers had to follow; we were the cheapest, the fastest, the most efficient and even provided services and facilities beyond what was requested in the contract, all at our own cost. We are the only NGO in the history of South Africa to be given R60 million by government.
Through the programme we created 7 permanent and 20 temporary jobs , we imparted managerial, supervisory, technical and woodwork skills, recycled waste matter, all at our warehouses and created hundreds of temporary jobs at the point of food parcel delivery. We are the largest food parcel delivery agency in South Africa. In the pictures that follow, the first photo gallery deals with this initial food parcel programme preparation; the other pictures deal with our food parcel delivery over the years.