Stellenbosch has launched the Stellenbosch Unite initiative to support the most vulnerable in the community.

When South Africa went into lockdown on March 27, it was clear that intervention would be needed to ensure everyone in the community would survive the period.

“We recognised the need for a feeding scheme almost immediately and, as the official tourism body for Stellenbosch, with established networks in place, we started putting out calls for help, never imagining how quickly things would begin to move,” said GM of Visit Stellenbosch, Jeanneret Momberg.

Stellenbosch Municipality; Stellenbosch University; Ranyaka; the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust; and the Stellenbosch Civil Advocacy Network, which is a network of community NGOs, all partnered in the project.

“We managed to raise R500 000 (€25 170) within the first week. It was astounding. Especially when you consider that donations ranged from anywhere between R100 (€5) and R1 500 (€75),” said Momberg, accrediting the success of the project to relationships with credible partners, ongoing collaboration with local government and the support of Stellenbosch residents.

The project has managed to distribute 3 300 food parcels each week as well as establish a mobile soup kitchen feeding around another 4 000 people.

Local chefs committed to donating the 1 500 litres of soup required. “It’s a massive ask, but we need a steady supply of nutritious soup for our various distribution points, and we hope with the support of residents, eateries, companies and local establishments we’ll be able to meet the need,” said Momberg.

She said the project had been successful so far but would need to remain consistent until at least the end of October. “This means we’re relying heavily on the kindness of outside individuals – and on repeat donations.”