In Our Blog: Insights from a frontline worker on grass root level; Penreach Food distribution Covid-19

In Our Blog: Insights from a frontline worker on grass root level; Penreach Food distribution Covid-19

It is a Monday morning at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, in fact, we are on Level 5 Lockdown alert and everyone country-wide is under strict instructions to stay indoors.  At about 07h50, I arrive at the warehouse located in White River. There, I meet my friend and colleague Dan who is there for the same purpose and my Director, Bronwyn Nortje who then hands us our Penreach essential-service-worker permits to allow us to move around. Penreach has responded to the need of our beneficiaries and together with our partners have undertaken to provide nutritional needs to vulnerable children and families during this time of crisis as we brace for Covid-19. We load the food parcels into the vehicles and get ready for a long day. I phone the three volunteers to tell them I am starting off and give them estimate times of arrival of the drive.

On-route I am pulled over at a Police Roadblock and interrogated by the officials on duty as to why I am out on the roads. Thankfully the Essential Services Movement Permit comes in handy. After a bit of discussion with the officer on duty I leave the roadblock and head to the first volunteer. She is a single mother of four in her late forties. She informs me that it’s been a month since she lost her mother, whom I knew well from my Penreach Reading Camp visits. I express my condolences and offer words of comfort. The other 30 plus beneficiaries to receive food parcels identified by her are families of the children from her Reading Camp. It is difficult for them to keep the social distance because of the obvious excitement visible in their beaming faces. It is the look of hope and fear.

After completing the paper work, I open the trailer and every other person begins to help me off-load as we count the 30 food packs for this particular hub delivery.  As I leave, everyone is thanking me for remembering their area and I am at pains to explain that they should not thank me but the Eric and Charmaine Mabuza Foundation. From there I start-off to the next Reading Camp to drop-off the remaining food packs. This particular volunteer is another elderly lady who has been a volunteer for four years now. As I pull into her yard, the beneficiaries are well organized and stand in the correct social distancing protocol and the immediately break into song. The vibey atmosphere is energizing and I join in. Moments later, we do the paper work and start off-loading. Once again, the break into an obviously rehearsed song, this time, by the children attending the Reading Camp. Their loaded sense of appreciation and beaming faces make me quickly forget the difficulties of the day and remind me how, together with our donors, we can make a difference in the lives of our people in the community who have been so adversely affected by the COVID19 pandemic.

Video of Food delivery:


Written by Ronald Chanets; Programme Manager: Asifundze. #PenreachCares