2021 has begun with increased challenges. The highly contagious South African mutation of Covid-19 has been causing havoc. Schools closed were closed again, and our kitchens were forced to shut down — currently, we’re not even permitted to operate for take-out meals.
Having gone through this during the first lockdown, the team on the ground took immediate action. Meetings were held with Emeldah Thibela (head nurse of the Brooklyn clinic) and the clinic’s home-based care workers. They decided the best course forward was to distribute food parcels to families. Based on their in-depth knowledge of the communities, the care workers quickly identified 150 eligible families. Parcels were assembled, each consisting of both dry and fresh food — rice, maize meal, beans, canned fish, cabbage, beet root and green peppers. Two face masks and hand soap were also included in each parcel.
During the first two weeks of February, families came to the two Ubuntu Mundo locations to collect food parcels. In this way we were able to continue to support the local communities by providing much needed food. A special word of thanks to Bennedicter Mhlongo who donated cabbages, Wendy Schoor who donated face masks, and Mike White who delivered on short notice the dry food for the food parcels. And of course, we must acknowledge the continued efforts of the Ubuntu Mundo team on the ground. Despite of all the challenges they kept tending the vegetable garden and were invaluable during the distribution process. Real teamwork for the love of children.
2020 has been a challenging year for all of us, but Ubuntu Mundo still achieved a lot. Even though the kitchen was closed for more than 3 months, we managed to serve more than 21,000 meals in 2020 — most of them served “take-out” for the second half of the year. And we expanded our reach by opening our 2nd kitchen in a neighboring community. By the end of 2020, Ubuntu Mundo was serving a healthy meal, every day, to 250 children, across two locations. We are very proud of these accomplishments. It is our goal to have 400 children in the program by the end of 2021. Ambitious but achievable. And even more important now than ever.