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The food bank, a vital rendezvous for thousands every month

2018-08-28  Staff Reporter

The food bank, a vital rendezvous for thousands every month

Lucie Mouillaud

WINDHOEK – The Onkugo Yepongo community hall in Okuryangava was a hive of activity last Friday as residents of Tobias Hainyeko constituency received their monthly food parcels from the food bank initiative. 
Next to the warehouse in the back was a parked truck. Inside the building were hundreds of packages of food to distribute, and volunteers throwing bags of maize as they organised them. Outside was a line of dozens of people waiting to pick up their food for the month. 

For the past two years, the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare has implemented the food bank programme in Windhoek. Every month, for five days, a team of volunteers tours the informal settlements of the capital to distribute packages of food to households in which the average income doesn’t exceed N$400. Inside the bags are beans, bread flour, oil and other food items necessary for a balanced diet. 

The size of the bag the beneficiaries receive depends on the number of people per household.  If a family consists of less than four people, 5kg will be given to that household. If the household consists of five people or more, they receive a 10kg food parcel. 

“We have 21 locations in the city to distribute the food,” explained Muhuta Alfons Kasavi, the volunteer coordinator of the food bank. “We start around half past seven in the morning, and the beneficiaries come and collect their bags. Yesterday for instance, we distributed 610 bags,” he added.

And during the five days, they distributed 3,518 bags of 10kg, and 1,359 bags of 5kg in Tobias Hainyeko constituency alone. “Some beneficiaries complain because the bag is not enough for the month,” Kasavi added. “It can happen that we have some problems, and have to call the street committee, but it’s very rare,” he said.

In general, the beneficiaries appreciate the programme which they say is a helpful for most of them. Fransina Runayi is 33 years old. She lives in a household consisting of six people, and only one of them has a job, in retail. Every month, she comes to pick up her 10kg bag that can last the family one month. This is because they supplement it with some other food. “It helps us a lot. Some people don’t even get N$1 in a month, so we are very happy for this programme.”

For Mbundu Paulus Iatja, it’s the same thing. Living in Okahandja Park-A with five other people, all of them unemployed, he comes every month since the project started. “Usually the bag lasts two or three weeks. After that we struggle a lot,” he said.
For the volunteers, there is no time for rest. After Tobias Hainyeko constituency, they have to drive to the next locations of the day. And while people are leaving, bearing the packages of food on their head, the volunteers start the distribution process in another informal settlement. 

2018-08-28  Staff Reporter

Tags: Khomas
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