In many leading global economies, monetary printing presses are pumping at an unprecedented rate. At the same time, abnormal weather is playing havoc with food production worldwide. The combination of a sea of new money and reduced production is inevitably causing sustained food price rises.
This is an issue for families living in poverty even in relatively affluent countries such as the USA. In South Africa, food is a bigger proportion of the average family’s budget. In addition, local families also face exceptionally high price rises for fuel, electricity and water, while unemployment in rife. These factors turn a problem elsewhere into a crisis in South Africa.
It follows that solutions such as those provided by FoodBank SA are all the more urgent.
Unfortunately, this tough economic environment makes funding all the harder to secure. South African companies tend to contribute a specific percentage of their profits to charitable causes, and profits are down. Weak profits—and lower interest rates—also undermine the funding available from trusts and foundations. Similarly, individuals have less income and so less to donate.
A recent survey shows that many South African NGOs are deep in financial crisis, with 45% of those surveyed having at most one month of funding in hand.
Unfortunately, FoodBank is also affected. Our financial position remains weak. With adequate funding we could quickly open several new food banks and also take advantage of offers to rescue far more food. Without it, we are having to assess shrinking even our existing network to ensure that we can sustain at least a portion. This seems irrational when we are able to provide a meal for less than R1.70!
The bright hope is that the national government has undertaken to provide meaningful funding to support FoodBank. We are working with them on arrangements which, if concluded in time, would enable us to continue our lifesaving work at its current level or better.
On a lighter note, our team at FoodBank is motivated by our impact, rather than by personal recognition. Yet we’re only human, and it’s nice to be acknowledged. We were delighted that in late November FoodBank Foundation was named the Global Options Charity of the Year by the South African Chamber of Commerce in the United Kingdom—a true honour when we look at the lengthy list of impressive NGOs eligible for the award. To everyone at FoodBank and to our supporters, whose selfless work and contributions made this possible, our thanks and congratulations.
Finally, please consider giving a FoodBank gift voucher as a simple and meaningful gift this Christmas.
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
MD, FoodBank SA
MD, FoodBank Foundation