Mofolo Soup Kitchen is providing for the community by James Motlhaping

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The adverse effects of the COVID novel

Since the lockdown, many families have no income for food and other personal needs. Although the government introduced measures to ensure that people have access to food during the lockdown, it’s not enough for everyone. Currently, the Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) is embarking on a series of three online surveys to measure the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on individuals in the country.
Wave 2 of the survey focused on employment, income, and hunger-related issues have found that the national lockdown did not only limit the movement of people but also put new financial pressures on individuals.
Regulations put in place by the government to limit the spread of the virus required non-essential businesses and organisations temporarily close down during the national lockdown. As a result, economic activity in the country on non-essential goods and services came to a standstill which had a knock-on effect on the income generation ability of the population.

Stats SA survey results

According to the survey, this negative impact on income — combined with limitations on movement — could have also impacted South Africans’ ability to access food.
It further states that a higher proportion of respondents of the survey reported experiencing hunger during the lockdown as compared to the month before the lockdown.
While an overwhelming majority of respondents reported that they are more concerned about the long-term impact, the COVID-19 pandemic would have on their financial situation compared to the short-term.
In Soweto, the Mofolo Soup Kitchen has been a response to the extreme need caused by COVID-19 and other socio-economic factors. The kitchen operates every Saturday since June and has ambitions to function even beyond the lockdown.
The Tshabalala Family of Mofolo, Soweto Ward 36, a well-known business family saw the effects of COVID-19 on the income and health of our community and felt a need to assist families that are struggling with food.
Mandla Tshabalala, the owner of Eyethu Lifestyle Centre in Mofolo, says that “COVID-19 is our collective problem as a nation. It is not only the responsibility of the government.”

How does the family sustain the kitchen?

The Soup Kitchen feeds approximately 300 people every Saturday. Furthermore, this includes families around Mofolo, elders at the Mofolo Salvation Army, and children at a local orphanage.

The kitchen is not an NGO. So instead of asking for cash donations to be made to the family, they request members of the public to deposit directly into the bank accounts of local entrepreneurs, who in turn supply the soup kitchen with various goods, such as bread, vegetables, dry goods, pots and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The family raises funds through its business networks and friends and buys supplies for the soup kitchen local stores in Mofolo to generate money back into the local economy.

“We chose this model because we want to empower local business people and keep the money circulating in Soweto while providing a nutritious meal to those who need it,” Tshabalala explains.

In need and around Mofolo?

The soup is served at Eyethu Lifestyle centre 651 Tshabalala Street, Mofolo Central, 12h00-15h00 every Saturday.

If you would like to contribute towards items such as bread, vegetables and PPE kindly send an email to mofolosoupkitchen@gmail.com or directly message at Facebook: Mofolo Soup Kitchen. You can also follow them on Instagram @mofolosoupkitchen.

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