Ndihluthi bag feeds family of four

One Ndihluthi pack feeds four people for only R10.

What started as a school project has become a lifeline for thousands during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tracy le Roux and Kim McLeroth, of Noordhoek, run Ndihluthi – an initiative giving bags of food ingredients to the needy – and since the start of lockdown they have packed more than 40 000 Ndihluthi packs, which is about 160 000 meals.

The Ndihluthi concept meaning “I am full” is a bag filled with nutritious ingredients that can feed a family of four for only R10 by just adding water and boiling it.

It traces its roots back to a community service project the two women’s sons worked on two years ago. Jake McLeroth and Jamie and Alex le Roux were in Grade 10 at Reddam House Constantia at the time.

Jake, Jamie and Alex, and the other pupils who were part of the project, handled the fundraising, organised “packalongs” to pack the bags and distributed the
packs themselves.

They also provided Ndihluthi packs, for a Mandela Day initiative in 2018, to a friend who runs a school feeding scheme in Capricorn Park.

The packs were ideal for children to take home for the holidays.

Ms Le Roux and Ms McLeroth helped their sons get the project off the ground.

“We did a lot of research in developing the product as we wanted it to be nutritious, hearty and economical,” Ms Le Roux said.

Ingredients for the packs were carefully selected and various types of protein considered.

Ms Le Roux said they had decided to go for split peas instead of lentils as they cooked at the same rate as rice and so all ingredients in the packet would cook simultaneously.

However,earlierthisyear, before lockdown, Ms Le Roux and Ms McLeroth took over the project from their sons due to the boys’ increased matric workload.

“The timing was perfect as we were back into it when Covid struck, and we were able to
feed communities,” Ms Le Roux said.

Their aim is to provide families with nutritious meals for as long as they need them.

“The community has really come to the party with arranging packalongs and sponsoring ingredients,” she said.

While Ndihluthi is not a
registered NPO it has partnered with the JDI Foundation, an NPO that supports projects that cannot access formal funding.

They have also had help with distribution from community organisations, such as the Fish Hoek, Noordhoek and Kommetjie Community Action Network (CAN) groups, church groups in Ocean View and Living Hope.

Jake McLeroth said Ndihluthi was an efficient and fun way to do good.

Since lockdown, the boys have again become very involved with Ndihluthi by helping with logistics, loading cars, counting bags and managing social media. “It felt great to help give back to my community and watch Ndihluthi grow to feed so many people especially during the pandemic. I love how this has brought the community together. I’m very grateful to have an opportunity to do good,” Jake said.

Living Hope distributes the packs in Masiphumelele and Ocean View, and the organisation’s Father John Thomas said they were sought after there because they produced a “delicious and wholesome quality meal”.

“The recipe has been carefully worked out, and it’s in a class of its own,” he said.

It was harder for people to find food, he said, because support from various feeding schemes at the start of lockdown had since dried up.

Ndihluthi is open to working with other community groups. You can find the project on Facebook or Instagram or email ndihluthi@gmail.com for more information.