We initiated a Food Parcel Project in October 2002, in the wake of the World Summit on Sustainable Development, held in Johannesburg.
Whilst participating in this event, we became aware via the Sunday Times, a South African national newspaper, of the tragic deaths - from starvation - of 167 children in the Eastern Cape. We deemed such a situation, in a resource-rich country like South Africa, to be totally unacceptable. Our response to this hunger crisis in this region of South Africa was swift, and involved the immediate delivery of 2 000 food parcels to hunger-stricken families.
It is a sad and tragic reality that it is only when famine strikes, or severe malnutrition manifests itself, that people consider responding to their fellow human beings. Unacceptable that we ignore the suffering of hungry children or adults simply because they are not yet near death.
Mercy and compassion should immediately spur an early intervention, so alleviating the prolonged suffering and eventual death of those in need.
We readily acknowledge that food parcel provision is not a sustainable long-term solution, but a very necessary response to alleviate the suffering being experienced. In the absence of a viable alternative, the provision of a food parcel might well be life-saving. Only those who have experienced extreme hunger would understand that a food parcel is, exponentially, way more than a mere hand-out.
In addition to our Food Parcel Programme, we also provide food parcels to disaster victims.
We maintain a data base of beneficiaries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Somalia, Yemen, Palestine and Syria. On an annual basis, we distribute some 120 000 food parcels across these seven countries. It has also been extended to a number of additional African and Middle Eastern countries in which we work.