Jan 21, 2020

January 2020 Report

Dear friends

I met someone recently at a social gathering. After the usual “what do you do” exchanges, a man asked me this: “Don’t people just keep coming for food year after year? What impact is that really?”

It’s a fair question.

Nutrition is often not seen as a sustainable intervention. The issue of creating dependency is another concern. As you know, the Nutrition Unit at our Centre is only one part of what we do. We also have a school, a clinic, vegetable gardens, sewing program and a newly added youth development initiative to name a few. But the questions above still remain relevant. These, and other questions, were part of the development of our Strategic Plan that was launched in 2016. (A full copy of the Strategic Plan is available on our website http://www.missionvale.co.za/images/MCCStrategicPlan.pdf )

In the plan, one of the goals is to direct people away from the Nutrition Unit and more towards independence. I am pleased to report that in 2019 we achieved this goal by having a 16% reduction in the number of bread and soup servings and an 11% decrease in the number of food parcels distributed.

There are several reasons for the drop in numbers:

- Some beneficiaries have passed away, and did not leave family members behind.

- Some reached the age of 60 and could access a small state grant they did not qualify for previously

- Some were able to find employment! (Naturally this one brings us the most joy and satisfaction!)

Should we then still continue with this program?

To be frank, the hunger and desperation is worse than what we have ever seen before. We have to keep in mind that there are not enough jobs in the country for everyone, and that most of our beneficiaries are elderly and frail already. Some pass through our gates only in their time of need, and others, through circumstances beyond their control, will be part of us for many years to come. It is fair to say that without this Centre, many would simply starve.

On behalf of the people of Missionvale, THANK YOU for not allowing this to happen. We hope that it brings you great comfort to know that your contributions are handled carefully and to maximum benefit to those who truly need it most.

Links:

Oct 24, 2019

October 2019 Report

The ability to concentrate in school is critical.
The ability to concentrate in school is critical.

Dear, dear friends

Thank you so, so much for choosing this project to send your donation to.  Every single dollar makes a difference here and our appreciation for it increases all the time.

Measuring the true impact of your contributions is a complex task, for how does one even begin to express the relief and gratitude of the people on the receiving end of the daily bread and soup line? 

The physical act of stilling the hunger plays only a small (but vital) part in alleviating the dreadful effects of poverty and related illnesses.  The American Psychological Association lists the following harmful effects of hunger in children:

  • Low food security and hunger can contribute to toxic stress – the strong, unrelieved activation of the body’s stress management system.
  • A lack of healthy food can lead to malnutrition, health problems caused by a nutritionally-deficient diet.
  • We all have a limited cognitive bandwidth. People tend to spend their limited mental reserves on resources that they lack, and so hungry children focus on food, which can lead to neglect of other areas of life such as schoolwork.
  • Studies show that food insufficiency is associated with higher prevalence of poor health conditions, including stomachaches, headaches, and colds; and that severe hunger can predict chronic illness among both preschooland school-age children.
  • Hunger-related toxic stress can negatively affect brain development, learning, information processing, and academic achievement in children.
  • Malnutrition in the first years of life is especially harmful, impacting physical growth, decreasing resistance to disease, limiting the size and functioning of children’s brain structures, and stunting intellectual capacity.
  • Severe hunger is associated with anxiety and depression among children.  Research shows that families’ lack of sufficient food, irrespective of their income, is associated with depressive disorders and suicidality in adolescents.
  • Children may feel ashamed and isolated by the stigma associated with their lack of food.

Your donations not only help to feed families, it prevents long term psychological effects, increases brain development, prevents illness and creates feelings of being cared for.  Thank you for restoring hope and dignity to the people of Missionvale and for allowing them the opportunity of a future.  The best gift you can give a child is a happy childhood and you are all an active part of that – THANK YOU!

Links:

Jul 29, 2019

July 2019 Report

Daily bread and soup in exchange for recycling
Daily bread and soup in exchange for recycling

Dear friends

As I am typing this, I can faintly hear the melodic sounds of our staff singing.  Their African harmonies come effortlessly and passionately.  For nearly 10 years now I have had the privilege of hearing it and still it evokes something within me.  I hear them giving thanks for donors past, present and future.  They give thanks for having the good health to be at work.  They remember those who will go hungry tonight.  It is heartbreaking and beautiful at the same time.

Our ladies working at the nutrition unit have a particularly difficult task.  While we are able to help many, there just is not enough to meet the huge need.  “Come back tomorrow, uncle” I hear our ladies gently explain that we have run out of food.  “What about today’s hunger?” comes the haunting reply.

It is your contributions that eases “today’s hunger”.  Every dollar you contribute, enables us to purchase life giving food.  On behalf of the people of Missionvale, THANK YOU for your continued support.  You have our eternal gratitude.

Weekly food parcel contents.
Weekly food parcel contents.
 
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