Did you know October is World Hunger Month?
Now there’s a topic that we don’t like to think about too much, because when we think about it we need to do something about it, not so? And doing something about it is pointless because we’re only one lonely person trying to fix a global problem, right? Er, I’m going to call you out on this one, WRONG!
Let’s quickly run through the sad statistics of hunger:
- over 11 million South Africans don’t have access to proper nutrition and go to bed hungry every night, 3,1 million of those are children
- hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined
- hungry children are unable to concentrate at school, and end up with chronic immune deficiencies which result in more illness
- children suffering from chronic hunger do not reach their full potential and may suffer from stunted growth
- the long term effects of malnutrition in children cannot be reversed if not addressed immediately
OK, let’s be honest for a minute. We’re often skeptical in our giving aren’t we? It’s so easy to become a product of the corrupt times and environment in which we live, and therefore we question where our hard-earned Rands are going.
Last week I was afforded the opportunity to visit the Oosterland Youth Centre, one of the 110 beneficiaries of KFC’s ADD HOPE program which is now into its 7th year. Relying on the R2 donations added by customers at KFC tills, ADD HOPE has managed to raise over R263 million since its inception, and feeds approximately 110 000 children every day – that’s a staggering amount of hungry mouths. If I ever doubted what KFC does with my R2 ADD HOPE donation, I don’t anymore because I saw it put to use at Oosterland!
Built in the small town of Despatch in the Eastern Cape, 1980, Oosterland offers homes to the most vulnerable of children in the community. These children are placed here by the children’s court and have no relatives or foster family to care for them. Currently the establishment has 10 housing units, and is able to offer homes to 106 children. I was most impressed by the effort and time invested in these children, in an endeavor to give them the most normal childhood possible. Children are schooled via mainstream schools, and are given chores and responsibilities to carry out when they are at home. KFC and ADD HOPE are Oosterland’s biggest sponsor, contributing more than 20% of the establishment’s food budget. I know what some of you are thinking… No, these children are not fed KFC three times a day, but have nutritional meals served for breakfast lunch and supper 🙂 Oosterland also has a Family Re-unification project which aims at reuniting children with their families after 2 years, although some like it so much here, they choose to stay on and give back to the home that once provided for them. I love hearing happy stories like these, don’t you?
I’m so pleased I tagged along to Oosterland for ADD HOPE’s roadshow and the insightful tour they offered us. Not only did I explore the impressive facilities which are used to house and educate their children, but I was also able to experience the homely atmosphere which formed the essence of each housing unit. Oh, I also tried my hand at tomato-picking in their hydroponic vegetable tunnels, and since I’m such an arachnophobe, I think I’ll stick to my day job!
So guys, add the R2 ADD HOPE next time you order from KFC, it really is being put to good use! And thanks to KFC for this great initiative, you’ve proven to us that when you add them all together, one person CAN make a difference. Why don’t you check out their website too and familiarise yourself with some of their other beneficiaries?