Fighting poverty, SA Harvest reaches the 11-million-meal threshold

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SA Harvest, a food rescue organisation, has celebrated its second anniversary. This coincides with World Food Day on 18 October 2021 and two important milestones: the distribution of 11 million meals to needy people and the upcoming opening of a branch in the Eastern Cape.

Alan Browde, SA Harvest’s founder and CEO states the organisation exceeded its initial objectives for the first two years. SA Harvest acheived the objective through the distribution of almost 11 million meals. Or more than 15,000 meals every day.

Photo credit: Simon Watson

“Our journey has been filled with many milestones, the most significant of which are the long-lasting relationships we’ve created with food donors, benefactors, and most importantly, with more than 200 beneficiary organisations who feed hungry people every day. Aside from these vital and fulfilling relationships, we have also built a magnificent team – men and women who go the extra mile to enable SA Harvest to fulfill and go beyond its objectives.”

SA Harvest operates across six provinces, with branches in Gauteng, the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and now in George. According to Browde, the Eastern Cape has long been on SA Harvest’s radar.

“It’s one of the most depleted regions in our country and we’re excited that we’re able to do this with the backing of important stakeholders in the region.”

As a result, the two-year journey yielded important lessons for SA Harvest, according to Browde.

“But perhaps our main learning in the space we work in, is the inspiring revelation of the number of truly amazing South Africans who, under their own financial and other pressures, are prepared to give so much of their time to help others. Here I must single out our beneficiaries, who, in most unselfish ways, work day and night to feed the millions of hungry people in our country.”

Additionally, the CEO admits that saving and delivering millions of meals over two years necessitated the creation of a vast logistical network backed by a very successful digital platform.

“We’ve been hard at work creating a custom-built digital platform that provides technology solutions to the dual problem of hunger and food waste – and we’re now gearing up for its implementation,” he says.

When wholly deployed, the platform will give SA Harvest and its collaborators technology that allows for the efficient rescue of excess nutritious food or food reaching the end of its shelf life. It also promotes compliance with food safety requirements, visibility, and openness and engagement with partners at every stage of the rescue process – food donors, logistics firms, other food rescue organisations, and beneficiaries.

SA Harvest’s Celani Nyathi – Photo credit: Simon Watson
This year, the organisation collaborated with Synthesis, a software solutions firm, to create a platform that offers individuals a voice in the #UnionAgainstHunger campaign.

“We recognise that technology will be the underpinning factor in ending hunger in South Africa, and we’ll soon be announcing further innovative initiatives,” Browde adds.

SA Harvest’s two-year learning curve has also seen a greater emphasis on cooperation, and the team is actively building dynamic relationships, which have primarily focused on problem-solving this year.

Partners such as the SharksHelloChoice, and the OneFarm Share project, TashasVida e CaffèLiberty, and Hart have helped spread the word about the need to feed South African people using synergies to ensure that collaborations offer benefit to all partners.

SA Harvest urged all South African private companies to consider donating to its efforts. This is to guarantee that every South African’s fundamental right to sufficient, healthy food is protected.

Moreover, Browde observes that many businesses have surpluses that they are unaware may be beneficial to SA Harvest. Adding that gifts do not only take the shape of food or money but can also include gas for cooking and gasoline for delivery trucks.

“SA Harvest’s mission is to end hunger in South Africa,” adds Browde, “and our three-pronged strategy – food rescue, systemic intervention, and technology solutions – has come together in ways we could not have imagined in the last two years.”

He says that SA Harvest encourages partnerships and collaborations in all shapes and sizes. The organisation congratulates other organisations doing excellent work in the food arena, such as Ladles of Love and, of course, SA Harvest’s beneficiary organisations.

“We look forward to working with our existing and new partners to further develop these interventions in all three spheres that will ultimately realise our mission,” he says.

What are your opinions as SA Harvest works to put an end to hunger in South Africa? 

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