SOUTH AFRICA is currently undergoing many challenges ranging from high unemployment and poverty to the ongoing energy crisis and rising costs of living.
All these issues contribute negatively to the country’s state of food security. For someone who is unemployed, it is difficult to access many basics, including food.
Chefs with Compassion is a collaboration of partners – individuals, companies and organisations – who together rescue surplus food that would otherwise go to waste, then donate it to kitchens where it is cooked, to feed the growing number of hungry people in food vulnerable areas.
Chefs with Compassion was launched in May 2020 as a not-for-profit company in response to the Covid-19 humanitarian crisis, and aims to continue as long as the need can be met. The organisation announced that it had served its 5-millionth meal to food vulnerable communities in South Africa.
Hanneke van Linge, founding member of Chefs with Compassion and NOSH food rescue said what led her to start the organisation was because “compassion and understanding of the humanitarian crisis at the start of the pandemic were at the heart of the launch of Chefs with Compassion”.
“The early motivators for the collaboration were Hanneke van Linge of Nosh Food Rescue NPC, Chef Philippe Frydman and Matthew Abraham of Thava Indian Restaurant in Norwood, and Caroline McCann of Slow Food International.
“Their initiative resulted in the inspiration to establish Chefs with Compassion, which began operating on May 6, 2020, with five founding partners, namely Nosh Food Rescue, SA Chefs Association, Slow Food International, Strategic Public Relations and Slow Food Chefs Alliance,” Van Linge said.
Van Linge said that using various partners, they rescue and salvage food destined for landfill or incinerators. She said the food is brought to their share house where they sort what they can use and send the remainder to pig farms.
“Nosh Food Rescue, one of the founding partners of Chefs with Compassion, is our primary rescue partner. Their Fresh Produce Market team is responsible for sourcing approximately 75% of the produce that is distributed to chefs and community organisations. Other sources include various players in the food service industry, such as Unilever Food Solutions and McCain Foods, and some retail donors, for example Checkers.
“From the sharehouse we distribute the raw produce to various cooks and kitchen hubs to cook delicious nutritious meals. These meals are then received by our beneficiary organisations who distribute these meals to feed impoverished individuals in their communities,” Van Linge said.
Despite Chefs with Compassion’s incredible impact, they are facing a funding crisis and have appealed to corporate organisations, the private sector, and civil society to support them in their fight against hunger and food waste.
“We receive no funding from the government and, since lockdown restrictions were lifted and normalcy was restored, corporate funding has become increasingly difficult to secure. The need, however, is greater than ever, with the impact of load shedding being felt by the most vulnerable in our communities.
“We have 30 organisations who are reliant on Chefs with Compassion to provide them with the means to feed the hungry, and the lack of funding for our efforts to rescue, cook and feed poses a serious threat to Chefs with Compassion’s survival.
“We have needs in five categories, namely funding, food, equipment, transport and warehouse space. We are calling on companies who have empty space, ideally close to the Joburg Fresh Produce Market; those who can provide assistance or funding for vehicles or petrol; corporate donors who are willing to contribute to Chefs with Compassion on a monthly basis; any companies involved in agriculture, production, manufacturing, distribution or retail of food; and companies who supply equipment for professional kitchens to enable us to increase volumes in a professionally equipped sorting area”, Van Linge said.
To ensure that Chefs with Compassion and its network can continue feeding those most in need and keep fighting the hunger crisis in South Africa, Chefs with Compassion has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Givengain - https://bit.ly/cwc-50000meals.
The organisation is challenging South Africans to help them extend their impact from five million meals by another 50 000 by raising R500 000. Donations to the crowdfunding campaign are tax-deductible and will go towards supporting Chefs with Compassion’s mission of fighting hunger and food waste in South Africa.
No amount is too small to make a difference. Members of the public who would like to support Chefs with Compassion through a recurring monthly donation can do so via their website on https://cwc.org.za/donate or via EFT to Chefs with Compassion, FNB account number 62852995269. Once-off donations can also be made through the Givengain crowdfunding campaign on https://bit.ly/cwc-50000meals. For more on how to get involved or support Chefs with Compassion, email [email protected].