100,000 families of kids from early childhood centres benefit from JAM

100,000 families of kids from early childhood centres benefit from JAM

The Joint Aid Management network provides meals for children who have had to go hungry due to the lockdown. Picture: Supplied

‘These children that we assist come from some of the most vulnerable families. We saw that we should target the whole family by trying to provide half a million meals a day.’

An organisation dedicated to improving the lives of Africans has gone the extra mile by handing out one million bowls of porridge to kids of early childhood development centres, while also assisting their families with food aid.

With schools closed for just over two months, children dependent on school-feeding schemes for a meal were at the
risk of going hungry.

But the Joint Aid Management (JAM) network came to their aid as they have distributed over one million porridge bowls to their beneficiaries.

JAM was already a partner to about 3,000 early childhood development centres across the country as it provided school-feeding schemes. Just before the lockdown, the organisation handed out a month’s supply of porridge bowls to 121,000 children.

But JAM extended their helping hands to the families of the children, said spokesperson Isak Pretorius.

“These children that we assist come from some of the most vulnerable families. Naturally, their parents and older siblings started feeling insecure as lockdown kicked into effect. We saw that we should target the whole family by
trying to provide half a million meals a day,” said Pretorius.

“Our first target was to focus on the 100,000 families we have contact with by putting together food hampers and distribution points through the early childhood development centres we operate with.”

Due to sponsorship from retail giant Pick n Pay, an additional 12,000 families will be reached to be given food hampers which consist of sunflower oil, rice, maize meal and soap.

In addition, the organisation has worked with retailers and local spaza shops across the country to establish a food voucher to be redeemed at the nearest store.

Pretorius said this was to help retain the dignity of those in need as they won’t have to queue and risk social distancing.

Beneficiaries will get an SMS to collect food at their local store. Once the food is collected, another SMS will be sent for the beneficiary to confirm receipt of the food hamper while listing all the items they are meant to receive.

“This solves a lot of issues and it allows for social distancing because individuals go to redeem the voucher when it suits them and it saves their dignity,” said Pretorius.

But aside from assisting their thousands of early childhood development centre beneficiaries worldwide, JAM would be expanding as it worked with the department of social development.

Those in need can register for aid at their local early childhood development centre or through the department of social development.

rorisangk@citizen.co.za

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