Western Cape NGO develops new product ‘Food Sock’ to help end hunger

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An NGO in the Western Cape’s Garden Route has developed a new product that will help keep hunger at bay and nutritious food on the table for the most vulnerable people in our communities.

Born during the lockdown, the Garden Route Food Pantry has been feeding thousands of people. They source their food from farmers and wholesalers and in turn distribute it to soup kitchens.

As the masses continue to face high food price challenges, they’ve developed the Food Sock, which will feed a family of four for R30 a day.

They’ve been feeding the poorest of the poor for nearly three years. They discovered that after COVID, an increasing number of people are living below the poverty line. Even the so-called middle class is not immune.

Prioritising other expenses over food, the idea was to come up with a nutritious meal that can feed a household.

Garden Route Food Pantry’s Carl van Blerk says, “We found a need to develop a product that is affordable, easy to prepare and nutritionally sound. we then developed the food sock. and the nice thing is that it’s a variety of meals. At the moment, we’ve got 6 different meal flavours ranging from tomato bredie, biryani and mutton curry and stews. Each of them is able to feed four people such as the pack that I’m holding at the moment.”

Designed by top chefs and other partners, this product is focused on nutrition. Chef Francois Ferreira says, “It’s wonderful dishes. On its own it’s fantastic. It’s got everything that you want in it and you can do anything that you want, carrots, onions and it will give you an even better meal. So you’re taking something from 2-4 people to 4-6 people. It is definitely not a poor man’s meal, it’s an ideal meal for people living alone or for the elderly because many of them don’t necessarily want to cook.”

The benefit of the Food Sock is two-fold – to generate an income – and use that income to pack more free meals.

Love Looks Like Something Soup Kitchen’s Loria Schoeman says, “I absolutely love it. Most of our people do have nutritional food that they eat. They scape with bread and pap so they don’t get the nutrition. A lot of our kids are malnourished. So by making something like this available for them, they have a meal that’s supplemented with all vitamins and minerals for a very affordable price.”

The Garden Route Food Pantry is encouraging those who are able to sponsor these meals for those who cannot afford them.