Today FoodForward SA, in partnership with Pick n Pay, hosted its 4th national Mandela Day Food Drive packing events across the country after pausing the worthy initiative during the pandemic.

Enough food was packed at the packing events in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban to provide 1.5 million meals. This will be distributed during winter.

The event was conceptualised to support FoodForward SA's warehouses with staple foods over the winter months when the demand for food increases sharply.

The excitement of being able to unite together again to uplift communities was felt in the energy of those who volunteered their time at the packing events today, says Vaughan Pierce, Head of ESG: Pick n Pay.

Food items were donated last week by Pick n Pay customers in-store and online, Feed the Nation Foundation, FoodForward SA and suppliers.

Volunteers today donated their 67 minutes to help sort and pack the donations into food parcels for distribution to FoodForward SA's network of 2,500 beneficiary organisations that feeds over 875,000 vulnerable people daily across the country. Beneficiaries supported include early childhood development, education, skills development, women's empowerment and youth organisations.

Andy Du Plessis, FoodForward SA's managing director says, "Mandela Day is a time for all of us to rally together and help those in need as best we can during the cold winter months."

Pierce says that through the Feed the Nation Foundation initiatives – which Pick n Pay initially started as a campaign during lockdown – they have seen the impact of the pandemic on many households. "Vulnerable communities need support more than ever. This event is aimed at bringing South Africans together to provide immediate relief for those having to go to bed hungry most nights. We'd like to thank our customers that donated items to our Mandela Day Food Drive. Each donation, collectively, makes a massive difference. And this event is proof of that."

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