Domino Feeding

Spread the bread to meet the need

It was a flurry of activity as the young men of Grades 10 and 11 involved in Durban High School’s Community Engagement class deftly wielded knives to produce a small mountain of peanut butter sandwiches. Each morning, during their daily Elective Period, pupils engage in various activities ranging from sport, language studies to robotics, amongst others. The Community Engagement elective provides the students an opportunity to learn the importance of community-building and how to make a worthwhile contribution as part of their social responsibility.

Several years ago, Drama and Art teacher, Giselle Joshua, who is in charge of any community service-related aspects at the school, made contact with The Domino Foundation, the Durban North-based NPO which impacts some 13,500 beneficiaries each day.  She directs this elective, having initiated an ongoing relationship with the foundation’s Nutrition Programme which provides a daily meal to over 7,000 children in ECD (Early Childhood Development) centres, primary and secondary schools in several Ethekwini communities.

The DHS young men have exercised their culinary skills several times since then and Giselle’s plan is that this will become a monthly activity at the school. Those involved in the bread-and-butter activity source all the components of the sandwiches needed and have a planning session before the actual day of manufacture so that all their commitments are met. One of the sandwich-makers, Grade 11 pupil, Saharsh Rambaran, commented, “I think all of us are aware that every sandwich we make will make a difference to a fellow pupil at a school we may never visit.”

He went on to challenge other schools in the Berea/Musgrave and Glenwood areas to join in DHS’ effort to meet the nutritional needs of children who might otherwise have nothing to eat during their school day.

For further information on how schools are able to use their community service hours to benefit the vulnerable members of Durban’s communities, interested people may contact Domino’s Volunteer Co-ordinator, Esther Madikane on 031 563 9605 or volunteer@domino.org.za.

#volunteerheroes #sandwichsupermen

Caption: DHS pupils on the school’s Community Engagement elective busy making sandwiches for The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme (left to right: Wyatt Rose; Avela Gwala; Hariv Pillay: Tarao Naidu; Keshan Pillay).

 

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Bread and Butter Champions

There’s a gentle hum of happy industry in The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition Programme kitchen in Amazimtoti. The five volunteers who have gathered for the weekly buttering-spreading-wrapping routine have it down to a fine art: 1,200 peanut butter sandwiches ready to be delivered to 13 schools, ECD (Early Childhood Development) centres, churches and a community centre, some well beyond a 20 kilometre radius of the kitchen which is situated at Kingsway Church International, Doonside.

Team leader, Cheryl Dann, proudly exclaimed: “These are my champions! They faithfully give of their time and energy to ensure that 1,000 children on the sandwich programme and the 3,000 on porridge programme get some nutritious food. We call this the learners’ ‘food for thought’ because studies have shown that healthy food isn’t only for good physical growth. It is also essential for the way children’s brains develop. And these generous people are making sure that the children get it.”

Two of the volunteers, Lizzy Cullen and Pat Manton, have been regulars since 2016 when the kitchen started operating. Lizzy said: “Besides the fulfilment and reward of knowing that we are helping to feed desperately hungry children, it is also helping us as individuals.   Being a volunteer at the Toti Kitchen enables us to join a ‘sandwich family that cares for the community and for us as individuals”.  Pat added: “It keeps us young and our minds busy and we have amazing fellowship and made so many friends!   My favourite is when we visit the schools and get to love and care for the children!” 

The preparation of the “sarmies” isn’t the exclusive preserve of the gentler sex. Andre Botes, a retired Seadoone Mall car guard, was adamant when he said: “A real man can rustle up a mean sandwich!” When Andre first got in touch with the Nutrition team, he was helped with food hampers until they were able to get him into a retirement home.  Making sandwiches is Andre’s way of giving back to the community.  Cheryl said: “We have ‘adopted’ him at Domino and this is really a picture of the saying that God sets the lonely in families. We are thrilled that Andre is part of our ‘extended family’!”

Cheryl said that the Nutrition Programme would love to give other members of the communities on the South Coast the chance to also be part of the answer to keeping children in school and developing well both physically and intellectually. Anyone who is interested in donating peanut butter for these sarmies or finding out the roles they could play are welcome to contact her on 083 201 0554 or nutritionsouth@domino.org.za.

#lonelynomore #menspreadingbread

Caption: Male volunteers spreading the peanut butter at The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme’s kitchen in Toti: (lleft to right) Tim Dann; Calvin van der Merwe and Andre Botes.

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A lady with a big heart

While she was scrolling through Facebook, a post on Amanzimtoti Trader’s page caught Thandeka Duma’s eye. In the post, a group of ladies who had volunteered to help The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme in the South Basin area were being thanked by the programme’s project leader, Cheryl Dann. Thandeka seized the opportunity and commented that she would be keen to see if Domino could help her with her initiative to feed hungry young members of her community in Illovu Township. So began a relationship which has flourished ever since.

Back in 2015, Thandeka was very concerned at the number of children passing her house each morning on their way to school without having had anything to eat before they had left home. She discovered that some of the children had sometimes not had a decent meal for several days and yet were determined to get to school. She couldn’t ignore their plight. Initially, she started feeding about fifty of them from her own kitchen.  Inevitably, the news got out and it wasn’t long before Thandeka was inundated with hungry schoolchildren. Now she couldn’t cope on her own and needed assistance to help these young community members in desperate need.

The Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme was the answer to her prayer. With the help of the programme’s Amanzimtoti’s kitchen, Thandeka is now able to feed as many as 150 children, providing them with protein-high sandwiches. Food hampers provided through the Nutrition programme also pass through Thandeka’s hands to fifty gogos caring for abandoned and orphaned children, and to other destitute families.

Her operation has grown so that, with the help of some ladies from the community, she is now able to provide a safe space for some of the children who come in the afternoon after school. Some extra mural activities are laid on for the children and they are helped with their homework. Thandeka creates an informal atmosphere where casual talk can take place while the children eat their sandwiches and chat with this wonderful mother to the community about vital life issues.  This operation is now formally established as the Young Stars Nutrition and Development Centre and is a beacon of hope to many in the Illovu Township in Amanzimtoti.

Thandeka is adamant about how her life has been impacted by the relationship which has grown between the Centre and the Domino Toti programme: “My life has changed and so have the lives of so many children in this community… they have hope and a sense of purpose.” She notices how, with full tummies, the pupils happily go off to school and are able to apply themselves to their work. Absenteeism and truancy have lessened significantly at the local schools because the sandwiches Thandeka provides are a great incentive first to get a meal and then to go on to their classes.

The Young Stars Nutrition and Development Centre has become a haven way beyond merely being a feeding stop-off. The children feel secure there and Thandeka and her team are able to encourage good habits and community-mindedness and to help the children build dreams for their futures. Many of these young people come from homes where the lifestyle is very much hand-to-mouth and where there is little thought beyond today’s challenges. “I help them see that there is a future for themselves and how their prospects are improved if they develop good study habits now.”

Never one to feel that she has ‘arrived’, Thandeka has opened a take-away called ‘Good Shandis (or ‘Vibes’) Kitchen’. This provides home-cooked meals which can be bought and frozen. From her profits, she has been able to buy a freezer and to add a room to her house to serve as a kitchen for cooking and baking, enhancing her ability to reach out and help vulnerable members of the Ilovu community.

This extraordinary woman combines her passion for her community and amazing entrepreneurial skills to impact many lives. She is very humble about how it is God’s hand which has opened the doors for her enterprises in Illovu Township: “God has always looked after me. I pray for this very poor community and it was Him who led me to see Cheryl’s post on Facebook and to our establishing our wonderfully fruitful relationship.  He is always there for me.”

Caption: Thandeka Duma featured with the Domino Amazimtoti Team – Cheryl and Purity.

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#everyONEaddONE

We are so excited to start building on our #everyONEaddONE Campaign
 
HERE IS THE ASK!
 
If each one of you reading this blog, can refer ONE friend, family member, colleague, church, business or local/international funder to the Domino Foundation, we could double our impact THIS YEAR!
 
And here are some helpful suggestions to get you started:
 
  1. Get them to like and follow us on our socials
  2. Individuals can sign up as monthly direct debit donor
  3. Make a financial gift donation on your birthday or anniversary month
  4. Refer your HR/IR/CSI/Diversity champions to our Donor Relations Team
  5. Churches can you connect us to your Mercy and Justice Ministries
  6. Do you know local or international organisations looking for new partners in Durban, KZN or SA
MAKING IT EASY FOR YOU …
 
Send an email of introduction to your ONE referral, connecting them to one of our Donor Relations Consultants Tarin Stevenson, Elaine Chetty or Navin Bahadur … and we will do the rest!
 
 
 
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Looking back | Flying forward

REFLECTING ON 2021

Musing on the year that the world has just left behind, Domino CEO, Shaun Tait, described the past twelve months as “a wild ride.” Balancing all the vital elements of Domino’s work – cash flow, emergency relief, staff and beneficiaries’ welfare, among others – had been a challenge. The journey through 2021 had seen the contingencies thrown out by the ever changing Covid protocols and then the devastating civil unrest in July 2021, adding a disproportionate level of uncertainty through KZN and Gauteng.

But, the demands of the unexpected and unprecedented landscape saw far greater collaboration and partnerships with other Non Profit Organisations, which enabled Domino to punch far above its weight. “We found that we had much greater reach and impact working together. Each organisation bringing its own strengths to the collective effort, and so we could achieve more than if we had tried to reach out on our own, in order to help so many people in desperate need.” Shaun said, that the NPO had realised that it is undoubtedly true that “Domino wins, when its partners win”. It was very clear through 2021 that, through partnering with other strategic NPO’s and working closely with each other, there was elimination of needless duplication and wastage, and many more beneficiaries were helped to move out of the cycle of poverty and hopelessness, into dignity and hopefullness.

Throughout 2021 we engaged with over 230 organisations from across KZN to co-ordinate and provide support in the most efficient way, to thousands of beneficiates across the province. From a beneficiary point of view, the table and graph below shows the expansion of our programme, tracking back from 2014 through to 2021. We noticed steady, incremental increases between 2016 – 2019, with higher growth from 2020 onwards, which was maintained and expanded on in 2021.

Figures in brackets count indirect beneficiaries i.e. Additional household members supported), Domino focuses on counting only direct beneficiaries for totals supported (e.g. If a food hamper can support 4 HH (household) members, we will record this as 1 beneficiary and make a note of the additional 3 in brackets.

 

 

From a Volunteer perspective, we had a 58% increase in volunteerism in 2021, when compared to 2020. If we track our volunteers over time, although we are still below 2019 figures, we are gradually recovering from the lockdowns that prevented people from engaging directly with our programmes and in 2022, we are aiming to surpass 2019.

 

 

Lastly, looking at our pre-audited financial results, the trend of decreased community development spending continued into 2021 as donors shifted funding towards Nutrition, Humanitarian Aid and Business Relief (largely due to the riots in July 2021).

Our goal for 2022 is to increase support of our Social Justice programmes (Abandoned Babies Home & Red Light Anti-Human-Trafficking) as well as going to drive the importance of quality education.

All in all, 2021 was an exceptional year, wrapping up a 2 year ‘wild ride’, which, thanks to our partners, donors and volunteers, provides an incredible spring board into 2022.

RE-VISIONING 2022 – 2025

During the annual Domino Visioning Week, which took place at the start of 2022, the team revisited the challenge of what its mission in the year ahead should look like. The trajectory which had been established the previous year was one which Shaun described as one of “building and muscling”.  Significant growth had happened despite, and maybe because of, the enormous challenges faced and all the programmes had been expanded and Domino’s reach significantly extended. None of this has been taken for granted and it is acknowledged that it would not have been possible without the crucial role donors, sponsors and partners played. The ‘stronger together’ mantra remains vital in 2022 as Domino moves forward to its long-term goal of doubling its impact by 2025.

Concrete steps must be taken this year towards the targets of the:

  • elimination of abandonment and
  • zero hunger and malnourishment
  • eradication of bondage, slavery and exploitation, and
  • provision of quality education for all and
  • access to decent employment for all in South Africa

Shaun emphasised that Domino is committed to working with communities to build a resilience into those communities and the ability to withstand and navigate the fallout disasters bring. Vulnerable people need to be supported as they are empowered to throw off a victim mentality and find they have the capacity to rise above their circumstances. “We want to push ahead with our vision to ‘Add One’ in every area of Domino’s activities as we embark on our “+1 CAMPAIGN” one more donor, one more volunteer, one more beneficiary, one more partner. That’s the way we will see this year being a vital step in moving towards having twice our present impact by 2025.”

Currently, as we sit and forecast income and efforts in 2022, we have secured commitment from existing partners to the value of R7.3M (which we are trusting and praying that these partners can fulfil these commitments and are also extremely thankful for their pledged support) The outstanding funding required. for the rest of the year, across all programmes, sits at a further R5.1M needed in 2022.

“Domino wins, when its partners win” Shaun Tait, CEO, The Domino Foundation

We will be sharing more programme secific goals for 2022 in the coming weeks as the teams hit the ground, ready to ‘build muscle’, continue with acts of mercy, fight for justice and see more people living with dignity, justice, hope and purpose.

*These totals are pre-audit figures and may change slightly once our audit is complete. Our audits are currently underway and these figures will be updated when complete.

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A little goes a long way …

“2.5 Million Children in South Africa Go Hungry Every Year”… we have become numbed by headlines like this…the words exhaust us, frustrate us and leave us asking, “How can I possibly make a difference?” My once-off donation of R250 would pale into insignificance in the light of the burden of increasing rates of child poverty, child-headed households, double orphans, human-trafficking, malnutrition and lack of equal educational opportunities.

The Domino Foundation is committed to its purpose “one changed life, changes a community”. In the same way, it only takes one decision to make a difference, no matter how small the gift. However, Marketing Storyteller with the Foundation, Karen Brokensha, points out: “giving on a regular monthly basis of a relatively small amount makes a very tangible and sustainable impact in the work we can do for communities. R250 a month on a direct debit order has a very quantifiable impact through our programmes.” Karen gave details of how R164 per month enables active learning in a toddler in the Early Childhood Development Programme while for R32,50, the Nutrition Programme is able to supply peanut butter or egg mayonnaise sandwiches for a school learner each month. The Literacy Programme is able to provide phonic education for five children to learn to read in Grade 1 with an investment of R250 over the twelve months.

“Where some of the needs are much bigger, individual donors and families giving monthly forms the backbone of our fundraising strategy as people who give to what matters to them, usually partner with conviction, compassion and consistency” Karen said. “We have done our homework and realised that it only takes 13 individuals or families donating R249 per month to help a young person reach their destined potential through our Skills Development Programme. Our bursary students need R3,237 per month for their tuition/textbooks/data for online learning.” Karen went on, “It takes R3,214 per month for us to give the round-the-clock love and care each of our vulnerable little ones in our Babies’ Home needs. That also means 13 families giving R250 each month would fit that bill for each child being transitioned through reunification/adoption into their forever families”

Karen’s colleague, Gugu Mazwele in the Red Light Anti-Human-Trafficking Programme, added, “We need R4,493 per beneficiary per month to reach out, restore and release these women who have experienced traumatic sexual exploitation”  That is 18 people donating R250 per month per woman, to fight for their freedom through the programme.

“Statistics are hard cold facts“ Said Karen emphatically, “because they reduce human beings to numbers on a spreadsheet, but over the ten months of a standard school year, our Youth Workers in the Life Skills Programme can impact pre-adolescent youth through Mentorship and Leadership Development and you could help a trio of game changers with R250 per month”

Over the past months of Lockdown in particular, Domino’s Disaster Response Unit has appreciated every financial and in kind donation, no matter how large or small, which has helped them meet the immediate needs of people adversely affected by the pandemic. “But our communities will continue to be hit by disasters like floods and shack fires. “We have worked out that R1,588 will help each disaster victim for a year. That’s almost two people helped each month by a direct debit of R250,” said leader of the Disaster Relief Team, Cathy Whittle.

Receiving support from individuals and families on a monthly basis into the Domino stable of ‘ministries’ adds confidence and camaraderie to both the giver and receiver. It is the foundation of  partnership made to stand the test of time!

Nelson Mandela said that “…overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity.” We believe in building diverse income streams to sustain the work we do for the beneficiaries sake,” Karen concluded, “and one option is the direct debit option which enables so many more people to be a proactive part of the solution to brokenness in South Africa. We also want them to know how their generosity is changing individual lives and do our best to send regular updates. We want them to know that we are being faithful stewards of their R250 every month.” She invites anyone who is keen to be part of the direct debit scheme to contact her on karen@domino.org.za or Lisa on admin@domino.org.za or call the office on 031 563 9605.

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How can we B-BBEE of added value to your business right now?


DO YOU HAVE A FEBRUARY 2021 FINANCIAL YEAR END?
 
Great! Then this is a helpful reminder, to all our corporate business partners, who are preparing for your February Financial Year End, that we are here to support you, as you invest in the communities we serve together.
 
We would love to assist you to finalise your B-BBEE spend, and align your CSI Strategy with some/all of our existing community programmes. Added to that, our initiatives build towards achieving some of the Global Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the National Development Plan

So please contact our Donor Relations Team, Karen Brokensha on karen@domino.org.za or Tarin Stevenson on tarin@domino.org.za or or call the office on 031 563 9605 today, so they can help you!

YOU ONLY HAVE A JUNE/DECEMBER 2021 FINANCIAL YEAR END?

That’s also awesome, our Donor Duo would so appreciate the opportunity to connect with you over Zoom, a telephone call, email or better still a socially distanced coffee (in the open air of our coffee shop) to help you navigate these COVID CSI waters, discuss your up and coming business B-BBEE requirements, and assess how The Domino Foundation can be of benefit to your organisation for the good.
 
DON’T PROCRASTINATE – DOMINATE!

Kind regards, Shaun Tait
CEO of The Domino Foundation Team

The Domino Foundation can assist you with a number of elements on the B-BBEE scorecard, providing sustainable transformation throughout our nation and they are:

1. SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (SED)
2. ENTERPRISE DEVELOPMENT (ED)

3. SKILLS DEVELOPMENT (SKILLS)

As your community centric transformation partner, we are committed to a process that gives you the business advantage by maximising your B-BBEE spend, as well as aligning to programmes that speak to your hearts and values.
 
THIS IS DEFINITELY A WIN-WIN!

DOMINO supports over 13,556 vulnerable individuals in communities and we rely on donor/partners like yourself to help sustain our transformation initiatives.

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Samies for South Durban

Nutrition Programme in South Durban

The mandate and mission remains the same as for North Durban, but the impact is with communities down south of Durban …

Activities

  1. Normal kitchen activities ceased altogether due to Covid-19 so Purity and Cheryl joined the Durban North Disaster Response Unit to help feed the hungry in the South
  2. The Toti bakkie was delivered to Durban North to be used to help with distribution of disaster hampers so we co-opted Cliff Dann to help with distribution of hampers in Amanzimtoti and surrounding areas
  3. A call was put out to the church community and a substantial amount of food and funds were collected
  4. Packed the hampers and delivered to the people in the community.
  5. When the bakkie came back to Toti we collected and distributed hampers to the community, ECD owners and all our beneficiaries as well as some Non-Profits Organisations in the South Durban area. 

Outcomes/Results

Sandwiches

No sandwiches were made or distributed during April – August 2020. We have however started making (volunteers assisting from home) and distributing samies to partnering school in need.

Hampers

Approximately 200 Hope Hampers were collected and delivered to communities in need.

Each crèche owner together with the most vulnerable families were given a disaster hampers to see them through the 3 week period.

Porridge

Jam SA – crèche owners were given porridge to distribute to the families of the children in their crèches, which helped them tremendously.  

Challenges

  1. There were not sufficient relief hampers donated to assist the increase in the demands we received, but that is to be expected as there were and are so many people out of work and lost their jobs that were not in a position to donate/support our requests
  2. Not having a dedicated community driver, but management are looking into this as a longer term solution and for a partner/sponsor to make this happen.
  3. Some of our beneficiaries have experienced a lot of emotional upheaval and are struggling through this.  They are very fearful and confused.  I have had phone calls and messages asking for emotional help and support.

Opportunities

  1. The community have heard about The Domino Foundation now and it seems to have made them more aware of our work here.  Great for our awareness!
  2. Individuals have donated funds to the Toti kitchen, more than ever before and we are delighted!

Meet Cheryl Dann here

Are you based in the South Basin and hungry for more information … Click here

Look at all this lunch box love

Driven to live a lift of purpose?

If so and you live and work in the Amamzimtoti area and have the resources to sponsor a qualified and responsible driver to do the food deliveries for Domino South Durban Kitchen to our local partnering ECD, Primary and High schools? That would be so amazing, please connect with our Donor Relations Team Karen Brokensha or Tarin Stevenson to help us deliver nutrition and relief aid and it will create a new job!

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Feeding in Famine and for the Future

It is more than a quarter of a century since Nelson Mandela’s acceptance speech at the Nobel Peace Prize Award Ceremony in Oslo. On that auspicious occasion, he articulated his vision for a nation where the children should be “… no longer tortured by the pangs of hunger or ravaged by the disease or threatened with the scourge of ignorance…” Twenty seven years on and that vision is far from being realised in this country. South Africa’s under-five population carries significant marks of malnutrition. As of 2016, more than one in four under-fives showed evidence of stunting and one in eight children in the same age bracket could be categorised as overweight…and the culprit is poor nutrition.

The “hunger, disease and ignorance” Mandela spoke of are often almost inevitable bedfellows in many of the Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centres and schools in South Africa’s less affluent communities and research has shown that there is a direct link between poor nutrition and poor educational outcomes. The University of Cape Town’s 2018 South African Child Gauge reported that six million South African children were living below the poverty line. Children in these circumstances are without reliable access to food, let alone to the right sort of food to ensure healthy development of their ability to learn and to reach their full potential as adults. A guaranteed meal at school is a strong incentive for children from financially-challenged homes to go to school.

The Domino Foundation’s programmes have some 13,566 beneficiaries, the majority of whom are either in pre-primary or primary education. With two of its programmes focusing on Life Skills and Literacy, a third on Early Childhood Development and a fourth on Nutrition, it was inevitable that the teams involved would be keen to develop their interrelationship. Cathy Whittle, leader of the Nutrition programme says: “Our vision is fill the feeding gap and to make ECD Centres so attractive that parents want to send their children to school. We aim to add value to the existing government feeding schemes, allowing children to receive two meals a day. Our dream is of communities where no child is too hungry to concentrate and learn.” Emphasising the Nutrition programme’s specific Christian mandate, she added: “We feed those in our community who are going hungry through a crisis or circumstances beyond their control. In doing so, we enhance learning through meeting children’s physical need for health and balanced nutrition.”

The Nutrition programme’s Crèche Feeding Project provides nutritious meals to children at crèches every week day and encourages their attendance and helps them achieve developmental milestones. The School Sandwich Project has sandwiches delivered to school children who would otherwise have no lunch, providing the learners with ‘food for thought’. This augments the government feeding scheme to ensure that children who may only have a single meal at home get an additional meal designed to promote cognitive development and including carbohydrates, protein, fruit and vegetables.

Monitoring and evaluation have been crucial to ensure that the Domino Foundation’s Nutrition programme remains relevant and effective for consistent impact. Before the Covid crisis burst on South Africa’s marginalised communities, the closely linked areas of nutrition and hygiene had been a focus of Cathy’s teams, with extensive crèche owner training on the subject. Each crèche owner and child was weighed and measured. BMIs were calculated with bi-annual follow-ups scheduled. “The highlighting of obesity and stunting issues gives a clear picture on needed interventions. Our one kitchen averages 80,000 meals each month consisting of a highly nutritious porridge, daily-prepared and delivered soup or dried soup ingredients for crèches to prepare themselves. We aim to have more crèches preparing their own soup, creating space for new crèches to join the programme and pass through the three year graduation phase,” explained Cathy.

That was all before the challenge Domino faces on an ongoing basis was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and Lockdown. Cathy elaborated: “Since 27 March, most of these children have not been to school at all and so could have missed out on that vital daily meal.” Cathy pointed out that not only had extreme hunger become an even greater threat in those communities but so had the negative educational effects of malnutrition.

The Domino Foundation’s Disaster Relief Unit, also led by Cathy, moved into action at the start of Lockdown to meet the basic needs of these young learners and their families. As part of KZN Response, a partnership of five NPOs (Disaster Relief, the Red Cross, Zoe Life, CityHope and Nation Changers), Cathy’s team set about collecting, packing and distributing “Hope Hampers” in and around Durban and beyond. The hampers included basic hygiene items and crucial non-perishable foodstuffs, enough to sustain a family of four for three weeks. Eventually, the equivalent of one million four hundred thousand meals were distributed. “The making of the thousands of sandwiches had to stop but feeding these vulnerable children could not,” declared Cathy. “Individuals, churches, community groups and corporates came on board and bands of masked volunteers made themselves available every day to see thousands of 20 litre buckets packed and loaded.”

At the end of the initial period of hard lockdown on 30 April, the principals of four schools in the Amaoti community in North Durban were consulted and lists of 1,500 vulnerable families drawn up. These were contacted and came to the relevant schools in small ‘socially distanced” groups at specified times to receive relief food parcels.

The days of Lockdown will eventually come to an end, but Cathy and her teams are fully aware that it will not be a matter of ‘back to business-as-usual’. Nutrition is a dynamic, changing programme and the pandemic and its fallout have dramatically changed the landscape. Cathy noted, “Through collaboration with like-minded NPO’s, corporates and individuals, we will continue to streamline our efforts into the relief space, growing and assisting with education in our resilience and preparedness, particularly in the light of the way this pandemic has challenged our abilities, time, resources and partnerships.”

Shaun Tait, CEO of The Domino Foundation, commented how adaptability and agility has characterised the way in which the teams of the various programmes have responded over the past months: “Contingencies and emergency situations have demanded that we pivot and change direction quickly and efficiently to be an answer in present crises and also to remain true to our long-term vision.”

Cathy is always keen to share more on this vital work and welcomes groups, companies and individuals who would like to be part of this ongoing programme to feed the most vulnerable in their time of need to contact her feeding@domino.org.za  or 031 563 9605)

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Thinking out of the Box …

Berea-based NPO, the AtomGate Foundation, (an outreach arm of Morningside IT solutions and services company, AtomGate), has once again linked up with the Domino Foundation Nutrition programme in Amanzimtoti. A bakkie-load of flip-top plastic containers to be used as lunch boxes was donated for distribution to Domino’s beneficiary partnering primary schools, high schools and a community centre where the Nutrition Programme operates. CEO of AtomGate, Kevin Meredith, and founder of the AtomGate Foundation commented, “We have previously joined forces with Domino helping make sandwiches. Now, we felt that the schoolchildren receiving Domino’s sandwiches needed containers to put the sandwiches in.” As a deacon in Kingsway Church International, Amanzimtoti, Kevin has been par of the Domino Toti kitchen since 2016.

Cheryl Dann, who leads Domino’s Toti operations, said, “We distributed this generous donation to our beneficiaries who opted for big waves of gratitude as their smiley faces were hidden by masks!” Cheryl expressed her sincere appreciation to AtomGate saying, “Support from local business partners like AtomGate, which is a real community player, adds such value and joy to our work. We would love to connect with other local companies who want to partner with us to bring hope and really make a difference in our beneficiaries’ lives. Please contact me on feedingtoti@domino.org.za.”

Caption Domino’s Purity Ngcongo with Kusakusa Primary School Grade 7 pupils Nomthandazo Khumalo (left) and Msizi Hlongwa and some of the lunch boxes donated by the AtomGate Foundation.                                                                                      

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