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Warehousing enables relief
At the opening of the warehouse space in Hamilton, to be used as a new distribution centre for Meals on Wheels (MOW) in the Free State, on Friday (15/05) are rom the left Gershon Naidoo (national programmes and marketing director, MOW), Mamiki Motlagomang (MEC for Social Development in the Free State) and Effort Bhebe (chief financial officer, MOW). Photos: Lientjie Mentz

Warehouse space that will serve as the new distribution centre for Meals on Wheels (MOW) in the Free State was officially opened in Hamilton on Friday (15/05).

Angelique Murphy, fundraising manager, said the two adjoining warehouses now available to them created the necessary space for workers and volunteers to receive donations and pack parcels for people in need.

“Since lockdown started at the end of March, it became difficult to deliver our normal cooked food parcels to households that we normally serve, because of strict regulations,” said Murphy.

“We now have a huge focus on food parcels and needed space to receive and pack these parcels.”

From 25 March to 14 May the MOW in the Free State delivered 16 194 cooked meals, and 3 260 food parcels were handed out.

“We normally cook 200 000 meals a month between the three branches in the Bloemfontein area.”

Gershon Naidoo, national programmes and marketing director, welcomed the space.

“We now have a strong focus on delivering parcels in these dire times,” said Naidoo.

“Each parcel contains food worth around R500 to last a family of four around 25 days.”

Also included in the parcels are soap, face masks and a pamphlet on Covid-19.

Mamiki Motlagomang, MEC for Social Development in the Free State, and Seiso Mohai, chief whip of the National Council of Provinces, attended the opening of the warehouse in Hamilton.

Motlagomang stressed the importance of government working together with non-government organisations like the MOW to help those in need.

“What I would love to see in parcels, are seeds, so people can plant their own vegetables,” said Motlagomang.

She praised the MOW for the work being done all over the country during the Covid-19 crisis.

Murphy said the cries for help during lockdown were increasing as the days went by.

“We received a lot of requests for food on our Facebook page. We help where we can outside of our normal set lists of recipients.”

The MOW normally provides 31 million meals annually through 700 service points around the country.

Dr Gift Mweemba with the book that he wrote, which is included in the food parcels.

An item with a difference will be included in the parcels that the MOW is distributing, in an effort to address more than just physical need. This item is the book Start Happening, by MOW team member Dr Gift Mweemba.

“I wrote this book last year to motivate people to get involved in their own lives,” he said.

“You are not a spectator, you need to keep happening and keep moving. The Creater designed each one of us as a self-contained package for success and achievement.

“With this book I want to encourage people to take courage and not let Covid-19 and the lockdown get the better of them. Dangers on our way should not stop us from doing what we have to do.

“At MOW we do not want to create dependency, we want people to take charge and to move to higher heights.”

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