Pick n Pay & FoodForward SA launch the 2018 Mandela Day Food Drive. Picture: Supplied

JOHANNESBURG - Retailers Pick n Pay and FoodForward on Monday urged South Africans to reach the goal of collecting 250 tonnes of food in three days to provide more than a million meals to the needy during this year's Mandela Day Food Drive.

“The reality in our country today is that millions continue to go to bed hungry every day,” said Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, director of transformation at Pick n Pay.

Thabo Koti, a FoodForward SA beneficiary at the Carpenter’s Shop in Cape Town, aptly explained the hardship of facing a day without food, saying “A car can’t function without fuel, it is the same with the human body.”

Ackerman-Bermanm said: "We are inviting our customers and suppliers to partner with us and help us provide baskets of food to those Beneficiary Organisations who can’t afford them".

Last year, the inaugural food drive donations were enough for more than half a million meals. 

In an effort to double last year's achievement, Pick n Pay has increased the number of stores participating by 30% and introduced two new regions -  Bloemfontein and Rustenburg.

The food drive collection weekend will run from 13 to15 July 2018.

“While any and all non-perishable items are welcome, we have provided 14 discounted products, in association with our suppliers. Customers are encouraged to buy any of these products and drop them in the collection bin," said Ackerman-Berman. 

"The food list items include rice, maize meal, spaghetti, samp & beans, lentils, pilchards, tuna, long life milk, oats, jam, peanut butter, cooking oil, sugar, and salt."

The late former president Mandela, who would have turned 100 years old this month, said the "greatest gift in life is the gift of giving".

"Everyone can be involved in this special campaign through the donation of time, a small cash donation or a basket of food items. All these efforts and actions add up to something really meaningful for so many of our fellow citizens in need," said Ackerman-Berman.

- African News Agency (ANA)