One million meals served in lockdown

Food parcels waiting to be loaded and delivered.

During the past 90 days of lockdown, Living Hope has achieved a milestone of note: delivering over one million meals to those in need.

This result was achieved through the mindful use of over 200 staff members, who work on one of the organisation’s 40 programmes across eight ministry sites.

Reverend John Thomas is the executive director of Living Hope. At the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, he spoke of the rare opportunity that it brought to Living Hope.

“The past 90 days for us as an organisation have tested our commitment, flexibility, teamwork, strength and responsiveness, and we are so pleased that our staff have risen to the challenge, meeting this exceptional trial with grace and generosity,” he said.

He thanked his staff for working tirelessly the past 90 days in particular, and acknowledged both their commitment and dedication to the task at hand.

Reverend Thomas said being able to provide 1 million meals during lockdown was due to the partnerships Living Hope has with generous local and international donors. “Even we are surprised by this ‘loaves and fishes’ outcome, which is nothing short of a miracle,” he said.

“While we are nowhere near the end of the pandemic’s affect in our area, the provision of these 1 million meals is a significant milestone that we are pausing to acknowledge and to celebrate,” he said.

Reverend Thomas said in this difficult time globally and locally, Living Hope is praying that this million-meal mark is an achievement that will bring light into the Valley and far south, giving everyone a reason to be proud of their community.

“The provision of these meals would not have been possible without the trust that our community has placed in us. While no organisation is perfect, we strive to provide services with the utmost integrity and equality, living up to our mission and vision of bringing hope and breaking despair,” he said.

The relief through food has been delivered during a particularly cold winter.

He said alongside the provision of these million meals, the organisation’s other services have continued during lockdown, including the agricultural initiatives on the Kommetjie-based farm, the in-patient care at their health care centre and the provision of cloth masks and hygiene packs. They also screened over 10 000 people for Covid-19 and delivered nearly 5 000 chronic medication packages.

“For us, the achievement of delivering 1 million meals is only one of many summits that we have climbed in our 20-year history, and with your support, we plan to keep climbing for many years to come,” he said.

Reverend Thomas said while the economic crisis around the globe will likely decrease charitable giving, where possible, he appeals to the public to con-
tinue supporting non-profit organisations that provide long-term services in local communities.

“The provision of these 1 million meals is underpinned by long-standing infrastructure, trained staff, community networking and extensive administration,” he said.

Living Hope is due to celebrate its 20th anniversary in September. “We can think of no better way to mark our 20th year than to be able to continue our regular services long after this crisis has passed,” Reverend Thomas said.