Following the trial run of the Children’s Feeding Programme on Tuesday, the initiative has in two days quickly gained momentum with two additional centre’s being added to the current sites, new volunteers stepping forward to offer their assistance, and a generous donation being received from the Pumpe family in Australia to help with food supplies.
On Tuesday 433 children were registered and received a meal comprising of sadza (mealie meal), soya chunks and relish, whilst Wednesday saw an increase with an additional 218 children registered totalling 651 children receiving a meal comprising of rice, beans and coleslaw. It is evident that as word begins to spread amongst the community, there will be an increased number of children who will be registered and will benefit from the programme.
The relationship between nutrition, health and learning is undeniably important and it has been proven that nutrition is one of the major factors that can impact a child’s development. These children are ultimately the future of the country and it is against this backdrop of the importance of providing the children of Victoria Falls with a healthy and nutritious meal that the Children’s Feeding Programme was initiated.
For many, the impact of COVID-19 on tourism to Victoria Falls has resulted in a reduced income or loss of livelihood, and the Children’s Feeding Programme offers a supportive function to families who are struggling financially and who are comforted in the knowledge that their children will receive a wholesome and healthy meal daily Monday to Friday.
Each child has their temperature tested before collecting their meal, and is given a mask if they do not have one, as well as receiving hand sanitiser before collecting their meal for the day. Children identified as malnourished are given a bag of Mighty Meal thanks to a generous donation from OAT Grand Circle. Thanks go to the churches and Pastor Leadership Group who are manning and running the project, with the assistance of church volunteers, as well as to Shearwater who are providing kitchen space for food preparation and vehicles for supply logistics.
It is anticipated that the number of children registering for the feeding programme are only going to increase and the Victoria Falls COVID-19 taskforce are appealing to anyone and everyone who may have the means to assist with supplies to keep the programme running during these difficult times.