, 21 May, 2020 / 2:32 AM
With reported increasing cases of job losses and food shortage in South Africa following the COVID-19 lockdown in the country, charity organizations have come out strongly to support the most adversely affected.
Among these are the Sisters of Good Shepherd who are documented by the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) on the conferences website.
“In different ways people of good will have gone all out to extend a hand of charity to the needy of our society, especially during this time when COVID-19 has added another blow of poverty to many disadvantaged of our society,” read the article that was published on the SACBC website.
The article further read, “Since the beginning of lockdown in South Africa, we have witnessed many charity works by different institutions, churches, faith based organizations and individual people, responding to the needs of the poor, mostly by distributing food parcels to them.”
On Wednesday, May 19, the nuns who run Good-Shepherd Learning Centre, donated food and COVID-19 personal protective gear to tens of poor people in Madidi, an impoverished community in the North Western Province of South Africa.
Among the distributed items, other than food parcels, were sanitary towels and clothes.
Sr Colleen Simpson, the director of the centre who has worked with the community of Madidi since 1990 organized the activity.
According to Sr Colleen the organised food parcels were meant to cover only 50 persons but hundreds of people joined the queue for receiving food parcels.
She said it was hard for her to return them empty handed because of knowing their poverty and that the centre had to go extra-mile in making sure more people go back home with something food.
The day was graced by the presence of representatives from the Government Social Development Department from Madibeng Municipality, who also helped in the distribution of parcels. South African Policies Services (SAPS) were also present to make sure safety precautions against COVID-19 are adhered to by gathered people.
Ms Henrietta Poo, the Director of Social Development Department in the Madibeng Municipality said as the members of the department they appreciate very much the good work the Good Shepherd Centre has been doing to the impoverished people of Madidi.
Ms Poo added that the centre is the arm of the department in outreaching the people of Madidi and the surrounding areas. The gesture of distribution of food parcels means a lot to the people, especially during this time of COVID-19 misfortunes.
When people have something to eat in the house they would stay home and help in curbing the spread of Coronavirus. She said since COVID-19 lockdown it is the first time that the outreach of such magnitude is organised for the Madidi Community.
A report on research published by Ask Afrika on Wednesday, May 20 indicates that unemployment and the subsequent loss of income remain key concerns for South Africans who are also battling food insecurity during the pandemic.
The survey found that food security at a household level is low, and that one in three adults went to bed hungry as they did not have enough food to eat in their homes. A fifth of respondents lost weight during the Covid-19 lockdown period because of a lack of food.
Food security is not only a concern for vulnerable communities, with half of those in suburbs or metro areas noting that they are concerned about the amount of food in their homes. Nearly 40% of adults in these areas also reduced their portion sizes or meal frequencies due to a limited amount of food in the home.
As of Wednesday, May 20, South Africa reported 18,003 COVID-19 cases, 8,950 recoveries and 339 related deaths.
ACI Africa was officially inaugurated on August 17, 2019 as a continental Catholic news agency at the service of the Church in Africa. Headquartered in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi, this media apostolate will strive to facilitate the telling of Africa’s story by providing media coverage of Catholic events on the African continent, giving visibility to the activities of the Church across Africa where statistics show significant growth in numbers and the continent gradually becoming the axis of Catholicism. This is expected to contribute to an awareness of and appreciation for the significant role of the Church in Africa and over time, the realization of a realistic image of Africa that often receives negative media framing.
Father Don Bosco Onyalla
Editor-in-Chief, ACI Africa