|The sobering headline from an article by Michelle Banda in the Daily Maverick last week brought attention to the fact that at the end of April, the Social Relief of Distress (SRD) Grant of R350 per month for 6 million people came to an end.
This is very bad news. The conditions that justified the implementation of the Covid SRD Grant a year ago have not changed, and the impact that stopping this grant will have on communities will be severe, especially with the possibility of a virus third wave and winter approaching.
“It is sad to see old and young people sleeping at post offices just to be in front of the queues to get the grant so they can get something for the family to eat. The grant cut-off will be a disaster.” – Joanie Fredericks of Tafelsig in Cape Town, The Daily Maverick 23 April 2021
At Love to Give, we believe this will bring renewed hunger and desperation in the township where our centre is based. Joblessness is a huge issue right now. Stellenbosch is a town that has been hard hit economically by the Covid-19 lockdowns because of its previously booming hospitality and tourism industries. The economy has not recovered, tourists have not returned and jobs are very scarce. Capable adults with previous job experience stream in to our centre daily and are desperate for help – firstly for help with food, and secondly, for help with writing their CV’s, or submitting applications for jobs, or help with their small businesses. Our staff are working tirelessly to assist as many people as we can.
Schools are open, and at least we have been able to resume our daily feeding of children. However, for many children, this is the only meal they will receive in the day, which is far too little for any growing child. Depression amongst children who are hungry manifests in different ways: bullying, or child-on-child violence, or apathy to name a few. Their growth becomes stunted, and their cognition and educational performance is poor. They need nutritious food and enough of it.