After we listened to the guardians speak from their hearts regarding how St. John's has helped their families (especially in regards to the food parcels and meals provided thanks to Tiger Brand's donations), we asked some of the St. John's staff members otherwise known as "the caregivers" their thoughts on how the food parcels are making a difference in the lives of those they serve as well as their own lives. Read on to hear their thoughts...
Here in Mohlakeng and Zenzele many nuclear families live with one another, so in one home, you have grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Therefore, it is hard to support a big family (where many adults are under-or unemployed) with a small monthly stipend. It is additionally hard to spend your small funds on good quality and healthy food. Therefore, the food parcels from Tiger Brands help people have a better quality of life and health. The food parcels are carefully made to last the month!
Some of our children under St. John's care need to take medicine, however, they cannot take medicine on empty stomachs. So the food parcels help them in ways greater than one can imagine.
We value orphans and so do Tiger Brands!
Many people living here, ourselves included, don't choose their life situations. Therefore, it is especially important that we advocate for vulnerable children... actually, all kids! We must not isolate children, we must care for them.
There is a high rate of school dropouts in our community, it is hard for the kids as they cannot concentrate on empty stomachs. The schools do not provide the kids with breakfasts, so now that Tiger Brands provide food parcels, the children are able to eat breakfast at home and do better at school and stay at school!
The food parcels have played a big role in our lives. However, they go beyond helping just us, they even help our neighbors too! For example, if you realize there is a need, you are able to bless them, for example, a struggling single mom, etc. It is a blessing with God's purpose.
It is amazing how St. John's presence in Mohlakeng has helped the community...we do not see kids eating out of rubbish bins now, the crime rate has dropped as people do not need to steal to afford food to eat. The emotional stress of guardians, children, and caregivers has dropped!
Over 150 meals are made per day, these meals help the staff members too. In many other centers such as St. John's, staff are not taken care of as they are here. However, Tiger Brands takes care of the caregivers too. Many of our staff members are the main breadwinners at home, so to receive food parcels makes a huge difference, especially living on an R2,000 monthly stipend.
Tiger Brands brought hope into the community! They helped us create an organic food garden in hundreds of homes. This is very good for the community. It is amazing to have gardens in individual family homes. Twenty staff members were trained by the Food and Trees for Africa and Siyakhana Cooperative. Now each of these twenty members are teaching 25 households to make their own gardens.
The continued development of a community is when they can sustain their own lives. When families can establish their own food gardens, they can help their children develop. Sustainability is the key.
What type of foods are in a food parcel? ... Maize meal, rice, beans, flour, jam, peanut butter, etc.
A huge thank you to Tiger Brands for all that you do... for making a huge difference in the lives of hundreds of people & for helping to bring a positive change to our community!