Underprivileged communities need help to fight hunger. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)
Underprivileged communities need help to fight hunger. Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency (ANA)

Covid-19 is a big threat to hunger and mental health

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Apr 24, 2020

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Hunger is a big threat in South Africa as lockdown continues. Increasing demand for food parcels, looting of shops and cries from the hungry is all we see right now.

According to Trading Economics, unemployment in South Africa is already high, at nearly 30 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019. 

The sad reality is, facing hunger can be stressful. Constantly worrying about where your next meal will come from can cause mental health problems such as depression, anxiety and even posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

The American Academy of Pediatrics revealed that mothers with school-aged children who face severe hunger are 56.2 percent more likely to have PTSD and 53.1 percent more likely to have severe depression. The inability to feed your loved ones can have traumatic effects on a person’s mental health. 

More than ever, South Africans need to come together to aid those who are in need because the impact of Covid-19 is being felt by many in their pocket and stomach. Government leaders, organisations and celebrities have been identified as crucial in the fight against hunger during Covid-19.

As a response to the need to feed families, the collaborative effort with both Imbumba Foundation and the Nelson Mandela Foundation has been providing non-perishable food items to those families who are most in need across South Africa.

CEO of the Imbumba Foundation, Richard Mabaso says, “South Africans are known and well respected for their humanity and unity in all crises and for their activism; whether in groups or as individuals.”

“Our people have continuously demonstrated the spirit of togetherness  and so we call upon them, to once again, help us to inspire hope as we live through
these trying times and try to shape a positive narrative that will see us through this  period and beyond. Of course access remains a huge barrier, however, we have  resolved to undertake this task with enthusiasm, patriotism and heart,” he says.

Over the last eight years, Imbumba has spearheaded a number of initiatives such as #Trek4Mandela, #Caring4Girls and most recently #Soap4Hope, an initiative that is aimed at collecting and distributing anti-bacterial hand-wash soap and other alternatives to help curb and prevent unnecessary widespread infection within underprivileged South African communities.

These NGOs have called on South Africans and organisations, who can, to join the initiative to ensure that many people adhere to regulations given by the government.

Springbok captain Siya Kolisi  has been vocal about lending a helping hand to the needy. He has also partnered with Imbumba Foundation and Nelson Mandela Foundation and together they were able to give 500 food parcels, hand-wash soap and multi-purpose cleaners were donated to families in Kolisi’s place of birth, Zwide Township in the Eastern Cape. 

Kolisi says: “We are grateful to have partnered with like-minded people!  We truly believe that we are blessed in order to bless others”.

The Kolisi Foundation, along with its partners, will support these 500 families for the next three months.

As more funding, sponsorships and donations are received, the foundation has established an action plan that will allow for more families across South Africa to benefit.  

Provinces such as the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo, Free State and Mpumalanga have been selected.

Since the outbreak of Covid-19, the Kolisi Foundation has been able to assist the Khayelitsha Hospital in Cape Town with one thousand respiratory masks and Eerste River Hospital received respiratory masks and hygiene products, including hand-sanitizers. 

As the nation continues to fight the spread of Covid-19, let South Africans come together to feed and provide relief to those who need it the most. 

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