providing basic nutrition for the chronically ill and those most in need
Siphila Sonke currently distributes on average 60 food parcels each month to individuals, both adults and children, who are vulnerable, needy and/or chronically ill and who live in a household that is not receiving any income.
The number of food parcels does vary from month to month, and also according to the season, as most employment is directly linked to fruit farming in the Elgin Valley and the related fruit industry in the town of Grabouw. The seasonal nature fruit farming and related industry means that unemployment is prevalent for a number of months during the year. As this unemployment coincides with the winter months of the Western Cape, which can be particularly harsh, inhabitants of this informal settlement are vulnerable to the elements and malnutrition, exacerbated by the devastating effects of HIV AIDS and TB.
Most patients are chronically ill as a result of HIV AIDS or TB and there is often a time lag before they receive the appropriate government grant(s). During this time these individuals are unable to support themselves and, in many cases, their extended family. The food parcel provided by Siphila Sonke aims to provide much needed basic and balanced nutrition, which helps to increase the effectiveness, where relevant, of anti-retroviral and TB medication and alleviate hunger.
Siphila Sonke continually reassesses the needs and monitors the circumstances of each food parcel Beneficiary, to ensure that the available food parcels are given to those who are most in need. Once a Beneficiary is receiving appropriate government grant(s) or a family member receives an income, their food parcel is discontinued, although home visits will continue for up to a month.
As soon as they are well enough, the adult Beneficiaries are encouraged to become members of our Support Groups where skills are taught for therapeutic value and to enable them to supplement an income. Beneficiaries are welcome to remain members of the Support Groups after they have stopped receiving their food parcel.
What we Include in a Food Parcel
Food parcels currently include e-pap (fortified porridge), tins of beans, maize meal, soya mince, cooking oil, pilchards, tea, coffee, sugar, toilet paper, washing powder and soap. The total content of a food parcel currently costs Siphila Sonke R200 per month. We are very grateful to Village Supermarket, a local store in the village of Grabouw, who subsidises our food parcels and also makes up and delivers the food parcels to our offices every month.
We also try to provide each family with homemade soup. This is made possible by kind members of the greater Grabouw and Elgin communities who voluntarily make soup on a monthly basis.
Vegetables such as spinach, cabbage and carrots are also often included in the food parcels. The men who work in the Support Group garden supply these vegetables where possible, thus feeding the Beneficiaries and generating some income from their endeavours for themselves. We also try to include fruit in the food parcels when kind donations of fruit (usually apples) are received from individuals or pack sheds of the local farming community.
At Christmas time, food parcels are made extra special with the inclusion of a bucket with additional foodstuffs for the festive season, such as biscuits and condensed milk, as well as presents for child Beneficiaries, or children of the adult Beneficiaries. These additions are made possible through kind donations from learners and their families from Applewood Preparatory School as well as individuals from the communities of the village of Grabouw and the Elgin Valley.
Delivery of Food Parcels
Additional Home Visits are then made during the month by our Fieldworkers to monitor a Beneficiary’s progress and circumstances, and assist where possible.