(Published - 1 June 2020)
The coronavirus pandemic lockdown introduced a serious crisis of scarcity in disadvantaged communities across the country as many people were deprived of means to put food on the table.
Instead of doing nothing about the problem, University of the Western Cape student Yonela Kanzi took it upon herself to organise food parcels and distribute them to the needy households in her community - in true UWC fashion of producing community engaged students and graduates.
“During this lockdown, I joined an initiative called CAN (Community Action Network) / Cape Town through which communities around Cape Town help one another to survive during this pandemic,” the final-year theology student explained. “I decided to open a Mandela Park CAN because I experienced how my neighbourhood and community members are struggling when it comes to essential needs. So, I thought about a soup kitchen and food parcels. I then partnered with Imfundo Yethu Organisation, an NPO in Mandela Park that helped us with food parcels, and we were able to help a number of families”.
Kanzi and her fellow volunteers have been going in and around the community to identify families that have been severely impacted and are in serious need of food assistance, in order to give a priority-driven response. They have identified many. “Our plan is to deliver food parcels door to door to each family in order to minimise movement and overcrowding, as advised by government, to curb the spread of the virus in our community”.
It is not the first time that Kanzi has been involved in community work. In 2017 she was volunteering at Action Volunteer Africa where they had an after-school programme in one of the primary schools in Khayelitsha.
Kanzi appealed to members of the University community to assist her with any donations and to spread the word about the initiative. “Anything that can help a family to survive through this pandemic is welcome. Many of them have lost jobs and have no income. The littlest thing one can do to help such families with essentials will be highly appreciated”.
For more information, contact Yonela Kanzi at 061 316 6280 or email her: firstname.lastname@example.org.