The “Million Meal Challenge” is an initiative of Stop Hunger Now (SNH), an international NGO working in South Africa to eradicate hunger in the country. The event will see over 6000 volunteers in three cities package one million meals in a single day. This achievement will be a world first if it is accomplished.
These highly nutritious, dehydrated meals comprised of rice, soya, vegetables, and 21 essential vitamins and minerals. The meals are easy to store and transport and have a shelf life of over a year. The cost is per meal is only R2.75 and it is packaged to feed 10 children or 6 adults comfortably. The packaged meals will be distributed in the months ahead to Early Childhood Development centres and schools affected by extreme poverty.
Commenting on the importance of the project, Durban ICC Chief Executive Officer, Lindiwe Rakharebe noted, “Eradicating hunger is the first step in preventing so many of the other social ills plaguing our society today. Alleviating this kind of suffering is essential, especially during the window of early childhood development in their formative years. Without solving the hunger problem, it is almost impossible for our children to meet any of their other developmental goals.”
“Mandela Day is more than a commemoration of the life and legacy of Madiba, it is an opportunity for all of us to honour his life’s work and do something practical to make the world a better place. What better way to honour the continuing legacy of Nelson Mandela, than by rolling up our sleeves and giving of our time and resources to serve those who need our help?” added Rakharebe.
With the support of the Nelson Mandela Centre of Memory, the event will be hosted in Durban for the first time this year. The three venues which have taken on the challenge are the Durban ICC, the Sandton Convention Centre and Canal Walk in Cape Town.
Saira Khan, Chief Executive Officer of Stop Hunger Now, Southern Africa said, “I am thrilled that the Durban ICC has come on board in supporting this event and I want to thank them for their enthusiasm and commitment to Living the Legacy.”
The event is aimed at corporate organisations to adopt the project as a Corporate Social Investment project as part of their voluntary service for Nelson Mandela Day. The companies can join the initiative by contributing toward the cost of the meals and entering a team to package meals during one of the four shifts available on the day. As an example of the contribution which can be made, if a company entered a team of 20 volunteers for one shift, and donated the cost of R10,000 to cover the ingredients and distribution of the meals, they would have sponsored 3,120 meals. This would be enough to feed 20 children, three times a week for an entire year.