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Role in feeding nation during pandemic earns Pick n Pay Humanitarian Award

Suzanne Ackerman-Berman accepts the 2020 Mbokodo Humanitarian Award at the awards ceremony in Stellenbosch at the weekend. Picture: Supplied

Suzanne Ackerman-Berman accepts the 2020 Mbokodo Humanitarian Award at the awards ceremony in Stellenbosch at the weekend. Picture: Supplied

Published Dec 8, 2020

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Cape Town – Pick n Pay has always believed that doing good is good business – never forgetting the art and necessity of giving.

Through its Feed the Nation campaign, it has over the past eight months distributed over 23 million meals to a range of vulnerable communities, which included the support of more than 4 000 child-headed households. The campaign grew at such scale and magnitude it registered as a NPO, the Feed the Nation Foundation, in June.

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This has deservingly resulted in Pick n Pay receiving the 2020 Mbokodo Humanitarian Award, which celebrates the outstanding role of businesses and their leaders in creating a platform for a progressive and cohesive nation.

Pick n Pay’s transformation director, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, was also specifically recognised for her role in leading the company to develop an initiative that would support millions of South Africans left most vulnerable during lockdown.

Now in its ninth year, the Mbokodo Awards aims to recognise the work that corporates, and especially women of our country, have done, often against insurmountable challenges.

In a year that multitudes lost their livelihoods, the ability to care for each other was crucial, making the Humanitarian Award even more significant.

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The annual celebration pays tribute to the major contribution that women of Africa make to the arts and cultural environment.

In a year that the world was restricted within their borders, art played a pivotal role in connecting South Africans to each other and the world.

“The corporate social investment (CSI) work Pick n Pay Group has done at all times has been inspiring, and the pandemic truly served to shine the spotlight on why we need leadership with heart as the Covid-19 pandemic showed the extent of income disparities in our society,” said Mbokodo Awards 2020 host Zanele Morrison.

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Ackerman-Berman referenced the ’’Art of Giving’’ in accepting her award, saying: “During lockdown, we have learnt to give love and of our time to one another. We have also learnt to give more understanding to the issues concerning our society, and I encourage us all to never forget the art of giving.”

She added: “For over half a decade we have served communities surrounding our stores through short and longer-term initiatives to lead socio-economic transformation in the country.

’’This includes developing small suppliers, providing food donations to the value of over R70 million every year to various charities, our interventions in humanitarian crises, and supporting tomorrow’s leaders through the Pick n Pay School Club by making available much-needed educational resources, to name just a few.”

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When the country went into a hard lockdown, she says it quickly became apparent more needed to be done as school feeding schemes closed and many lost their jobs.

“Feed the Nation started as a way for us and our customers to support those left most vulnerable. Pick n Pay executives donated parts of their salaries and our customers donated food and cash at till points.

“Thanks to our established network and efficient supply chain, we could support welfare organisations and charities to further increase their reach.

’’Our partnerships quickly grew and our Pick n Pay and Boxer Superstores staff worked alongside amazing organisations to pack and distribute food parcels to some of the most remote and rural parts of South Africa,” says Ackerman-Berman.

Carol Bouwer said at the Mbokodo Awards: “We commend Pick n Pay for your gallant leadership and the innovative ways you inspired your customers to work with you to make a difference.”

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