South Africans united this Mandela Day and together raised enough food to provide over 500,000 meals to those who go hungry every day. This number is expected to climb through the week.

The Pick n Pay & FoodForward SA 2018 Mandela Day Food Drive launched last Friday and invited consumers to donate non-perishable food items in any of the 500 participating Pick n Pay stores nationwide.

In association with suppliers, 14 staple products were sold at or below cost over the weekend. Customers could also make a cash donation at the till point, or volunteer their time to engage and educate shoppers about the food drive.

As of 9am on Thursday, 135 tonnes of food from the collection weekend had been weighed – equating to 540 000 meals. This is up from last year’s collection of 130 tonnes and will climb still further as not all food has been collected. During the week, collections will continue from more than a 100 non-centrally located stores. The organisers expect final donation figures to be available by 20 July.

Over 6 000 volunteers participated in the six packing events across the country in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg. Over eight hours, volunteers donated 67 minutes of their time to sort the donated items into food parcels. These meals will be distributed to FoodForward SA’s 600 beneficiary organisations which range from support groups, old age homes and schools to shelters and youth or skills development programmes.

“FoodForward SA provides meals to 250 000 beneficiaries through these organisations. This Mandela Day donation enables these organisations to allocate the money they would have spent on food to other needs or activities,” says Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, director of transformation at Pick n Pay.

She says that through the support and generosity of South Africans, this food drive is able to provide many of these organisations with much more than just a warm nutritious meal. “Last year, the food parcel that we delivered to an old age home lasted for four months. With the money they saved on food, they were able to take their residents on outings and even meant some of their residents could visit a doctor for the first time.”

“We sometimes forget how the small gift of giving can go such a long way,” adds Ackerman-Berman.

Hunger remains a persistent problem in South Africa, with millions going without a meal every day. According to Statistics SA Poverty Trends in South Africa report, the number of people vulnerable to hunger was measured at 13.4% of the population in 2016. This is approximately one out of every seven people.

Andy du Plessis, Managing Director of FoodForward SA, says that food insecurity is a real problem faced by a significant portion of our population. “The FoodForward SA Mandela Day Food Drive will allow us to substantially increase the nutritious value of the food basket that we provide to our Beneficiary Organisations.”

Ackerman-Berman says while the Mandela Day Food Drive is an annual event, Pick n Pay has a longstanding relationship with FoodForward SA (formally FoodBank SA). Last year alone, the retailer donated over R70 million in edible food for redistribution to hundreds of NPOs, providing approximately 20 000 meals per day and more than eight million meals annually.

One of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is that by 2030, no one will go hungry anywhere in the world. Ackerman-Berman says that it is through initiatives like Mandela Day that people are inspired to volunteer and help achieve this goal.


Issued by Corporate Image on behalf of Pick n Pay 


The packing events took place at the following venues:

  • Cape Town: Century City Conference Centre, 4 Energy Lane, Century City
  • Johannesburg: Gallagher Convention Centre, 19 Richards Drive, Midrand
  • Durban: Durban International Convention Centre, 45 Bram Fischer Road
  • Port Elizabeth: FoodForward SA Warehouse, 206 Kempston Road, Sidwell
  • Bloemfontein: 1 Tannery Road, Hamilton
  • Rustenburg: Karlienpark Primary, 1 Karlien Street, Karlienpark

Statistics quoted: