Vick Panday, the chairperson of Food For Life Africa -River Range Ranch, centre, with members of the kitchen team. PICTURE: Tumi Pakkies
Vick Panday, the chairperson of Food For Life Africa -River Range Ranch, centre, with members of the kitchen team. PICTURE: Tumi Pakkies

Food For Life Africa has distributed 2,7 million meals during pandemic

By Nadia Khan Time of article published Jul 8, 2021

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Durban: More than 2.7 million plates of food were distributed by Food For Life Africa – River Range Ranch since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Vick Panday, the chairperson of the branch based in Verulam, said the demand for food was greater since South Africa was placed in lockdown from March 2020.

"These are tough and trying times for families. Many people are unable to work, while some have lost their jobs," said Panday.

"People were battling to make ends meet and to put a single plate of food on the table, and we had to act.”

Panday said Food For Life Africa was a non-profit organisation, and that it was originally part of Food For Life South Africa.

“In 2018 my cousin, Viresh Panday, told me he needed a space to prepare meals. My wife and I owned land in Verulam and we told him that he could use the property. One morning, while the meals were being prepared in the cold weather, I decided a mega kitchen was required to cater for a large number of people. And that is what we built."

He said the kitchen was completed at the start of March 2020, and that 10 000 plates of food could be prepared in the facility.

“We were preparing meals but the country went into lockdown on March 27, and we had to close. During the first week of the lockdown, people arrived at the premises asking for food. We could not turn a blind eye to their hunger. We started operations and followed all the Covid-19 protocols."

Panday said non-profit and non-governmental organisations in Phoenix and Verulam, among other areas, collected and distributed the meals.

"We also increased the number of plates of food we were distributing, from about 2 000 prior to the lockdown to between 8 000 and 10 000 plates a day.

"From last March, we distributed between 140 000 and 160 000 plates of food a month. Besides the communities, meals are distributed to schools, orphanages and old-age homes."

He said that at the end of June, they distributed more than 2.7 million plates of food.

In a run-up to Mandela Day on July 18, they are preparing and distributing an extra 67 000 plates of food.

“And on July 18 itself, we will cook an extra 27 000 plates of food, which will be collected and distributed by the various branches of Food For Life Africa.

He said they relied on donors and sponsors to continue their work. For information on their projects, call Panday at 082 334 4333.

Vick Panday, the chairperson of Food For Life Africa -River Range Ranch, center, with members of the kitchen team. PICTURE: Tumi Pakkies/African News Agency/ANA

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