Johannesburg – The annual World Hunger Day was commemorated at the weekend on Sunday, and it put the spotlight on the food insecure.
More than 820 million people worldwide live in chronic hunger.
Children are most vulnerable to hunger as high child mortality and morbidity rates reveal the existence of important underlying factors that catalyse malnutrition.
In these very difficult times in the world, South Africa is fortunate that progressive entities tend to step up to tackle the crisis.
On Monday, Octodec announced that it has joined a partnership, which will enable 2.4 million meals to be served to preschool children in South Africa in the next 12 months.
Octodec joins the Dis-chem Foundation, FutureLife and Nivea to bolster its impact in alleviating child-hunger in South Africa.
This nationwide initiative was established by the Dis-chem Foundation and FutureLife in 2020, who have provided more than 2 million highly nutritious meals for the past three years.
JSE-listed REIT, Octodec Investments Limited, said it was “pleased” to join the partnership.
According to The World Food Programme, one in four children in South Africa is stunted due to malnutrition.
Hunger can cause physical and cognitive developmental delays, leading to long-term consequences that can affect a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school.
Addressing hunger in pre-school children is critical for ensuring their health and well-being, as well as setting them up for success later in life.
Head of Sustainability at City Property Lisa Carne said: “4.6 million South African children go to bed hungry every night; it’s a heart-breaking statistic that has motivated us for the last six-years to partner with Rise Against Hunger, where to date, we have supplied just under 650 000 meals”.
Carne added: “When the Dis-Chem Foundation approached us last year to partner with them on their feeding scheme, it was a cause that we were so passionate about, we could not resist.
“We made a donation to the Foundation which added another 222 000 meals to their campaign last year, and now we join them as an official partner to drive the campaign to reach even more children”.
Carne said the initiative was in line with Octodec’s social impact focus.
She said in 2022, the company spent R2.4 million in assisting communities in need through Rise Against Hunger, Hope Worldwide SA, Forever Friends, Unchain our Children and Door for Hope initiatives.
Furthermore, Carne said Octodec invests in communities and offers free rental space in their buildings to selected organisations, including Dignity Dreams, Cotlands, and Santa Shoebox.
“In addition, Octodec is deeply involved in the People Upliftment programme which aims to uplift students studying early childhood education,” said Carne.
“This partnership is emblematic of the Group’s dedication to caring for the communities they operate in, which will see Octodec distributing 50 000 meals each month in four informal settlements surrounding Johannesburg and Tshwane.
“Being part of this initiative allows the Octodec team to continue investing in our communities’ security, education, well-being, and sustainability.
“This is integral to our commitment to building dignity and creating a shared value.”