Winery Converts To Food Relief Distribution Point

With hunger escalating in the country due to COVID-19 lockdown and economic downturn, Durbanville Hills has partnered with SA Harvest and MES (Mould Empower Serve) in expanding food drives in Cape Town.

The cellar has adapted their operations to offer a distribution location for food to be delivered weekly and repackaged to service the dire need in the Durbanville, Dunoon, Mamre, Bothasig and Tableview areas.

SA Harvest currently provides food to over 30 beneficiary organisations in Johannesburg and Cape Town, feeding on average around 6000 individuals daily with over 100 000 meals prepared per week by different local NPOs. MES offers housing to the 297 homeless individuals since lock down started, and distributed more than 3000 food parcels and served 148 000 meals.

The food delivered to the cellar will see Durbanville Hills staff sorting and allocating food baskets to local beneficiary organisations.

Dirk Steyn, Durbanville Hills’ Restaurant General Manager, says the new partnership is only the start with other organisations also being approached to contribute to the food drive.

“The lockdown has had an enormous impact on practically every industry in the country and NPOs have been struggling to provide food for the thousands of people who have absolutely no income and no food. By offering our resources and premises as a distribution point to SA Harvest and MES, they can now reach the communities within a 10km radius of the winery which up until now was logistically not possible.”

“We are moving into winter and the need is escalating. The more organisations we can get on board, the better we’ll be able to assist the community during this difficult time. The need is not only for food, but also for blankets and clothing.”

The tasting area at the cellar is currently being used for this project and has been sanitised with a series of stringent health and safety protocols put in place in accordance to the Government’s regulatory COVID-19 requirements.  These include staff adhering to social distancing, complying with sanitation requirements and everyone wearing protective clothing. 

SA Harvest, the food rescue platform dramatically reducing food waste and successfully channelling nutritious surplus food, has scaled-up their operations to meet the COVID-19 distress of hunger in the country. The platform brings together working capital, human capital, infrastructures and partners in one seamless food rescue supply chain, to ensure that excess food is redistributed to a vast network of beneficiary organisations. SA Harvest sources fresh, nutrient-rich food from a broad range of suppliers including; farmers and micro farmers, food producers, restaurants, retailers, airlines, events coordinators and community builders.

MES continues to serve the homeless and vulnerable inner-city communities as South Africa moves into the lower levels of the lockdown period.

Leona Pienaar, CEO of MES said since the start of the lockdown, there has been a massive collaboration effort with volunteers, individual and corporate donors, churches, provincial government departments, as well as the general public, all working together in supporting the homeless.

“Our existing overnight shelters were turned into lockdown shelters, and where clients would normally pay a small fee of R20 for a hot shower and warm bed for the night, we waived the fee and added a warm meal to the service. What was previously the MES Impilo Hospice in Johannesburg reopened its doors this time as an emergency shelter and within a week it reached full capacity. The Cape Town shelter also reached full capacity with a waiting list of over 300 people before end March.”
MES assists the homeless with health screenings as well as drug withdrawal symptoms, mental health challenges, anxiety, depression and the fear of COVID-19.

“The progress made by clients in our shelters has been huge and the outcome and growth we see daily is indeed inspiring,” says Pienaar.

The following organisations are currently receiving the food parcels distributed from Durbanville Hills:

  • The Night Haven Shelter
  • Savings Sparrows
  • Won Life
  • Helping Others

Linda Christensen

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