In the lead up to World Food Day this Saturday, 16 October, Woolworths reports that over its last fiscal it has donated R731 millions worth of food to over 1 400 charities across the country directly from its stores. 

Amidst the global pandemic and other competing socio-economic challenges, food insecurity has worsened, and too many South Africans are going hungry.  

World Food Day highlights how fundamental food security is to a stable society and emphasises taking action with the theme ‘Our actions are our future – better production, better nutrition, a better environment and a better life’.  

“This speaks directly to Woolworths’ Food business where our focus ranges all the way from producing high quality foods using less inputs and generating less waste to making good food accessible for communities in need,” says Zinzi Mgolodela, Director of Corporate Affairs. 

“Playing an active and meaningful role in addressing South Africa’s food security and hunger alleviation challenges has been a key focus of the Woolworths Trust and our CSI strategy for many years. Alongside our partnerships aimed at improving food systems, we see food relief as a natural extension of our Foods offering.”

For over 30 years, Woolworths has donated food that is past its ‘sell by date’ but within the ‘use by date’ directly from the stores to local charities. This not only ensures that fresh food does not go to waste but enables vulnerable people to benefit from best quality nutrition.  

Mgolodela continues, “Some charities such as LIV Village and St Annes Homes have been receiving weekly food from their local Woolies stores for 9 and 11 years respectively. 

“Through our partnership with FoodForwardSA, charities that receive surplus food from us will also be on FoodForwardSA’s Food Share app to improve the traceability of our food donations. This also allows the charities to access the additional food donations that FoodForwardSA distributes.”

LIV Village Durban, which provides orphaned and vulnerable children with a family environment and schooling is a beneficiary of surplus food from Woolworths Gateway and Granada stores.   

Carita Mc Cririe from LIV Leadership says, “It is hard to quantify the massive impact that these food donations make for LIV Village’s foster mothers, children and volunteers.  

“We have 31 foster houses, each with a house mum and between 6 to 8 children living together as a family. Having access to Woolworths food not just saves us a huge amount of money each month but also ensures that our mothers are able to give their children the highest quality food.”

St Anne’s Homes has been providing shelter, care and empowerment to abused, destitute and pregnant mothers with young children in Cape Town since 1904. The non-profit organisation currently collects surplus food donations from the Woolies’ Palmyra store.

Executive Director, Joy Lange says, “We value the partnership that we have with Woolworths for two important reasons. Firstly, the food donations help us to keep the ever-increasing food expenses down and easily save us about R16 000 per month.  

“And secondly, there’s a significant impact that the nutritional value of the donations has on the mothers and their children. Some children come into the shelter under-nourished, and there’s a lag in their developmental milestones. 

“Through nutritional food intake and our Early Childhood Development intervention, the children are able to reach developmental targets over time.”

Mgolodela concludes, “Woolworths has a long-term commitment to #zerohunger 2030.mFood relief is one important aspect of this so that we can help address the immediacy of hunger in our country.  

“We have a range of different food security programmes including support for sustainable food systems that create livelihoods in regenerative agriculture and empower South Africans to secure their own food supply as we move purposefully in partnership towards #zerohunger 2030.