Why the Response Team
Early January 2021, South Africa experienced a surge in the Covid 19 infection rates. We also experienced a relative short coming in the provision of medication and vitamins to those in need. In addition, in certain instances people were unable to pay for Covid tests, getting their blood tests done and obtaining the requisite medication (which at times was expensive)
Further, we identified numerous organizations and individuals doing excellent work in various fields, responding to distress signals relating to Covid-‐19.
A key objective of the initiative was to provide the community with a single document providing them with all the relevant contact details, from virtual doctors to individuals able to provide cooked food in their time of need. These services were available to all South Africans, and most available at zero cost. After a few days we realized the need was for a broader based medical assistance campaign.
What did we do?
A few urgent calls to small and medium private sector companies to request assistance with:
- Protective Equipment for doctors and paramedics
- Heat and Eat food packs
- Discounted medication through pharmacies (on doctors instructions)
- Sourcing vitamins at appropriate pricing
MealSA has become accustomed to the favorable response of SMMEs in our time of need and we received significant contributions and discounted pricing, and the campaign gained momentum. Together with this, we made a call to South Africans to support our campaign.
The South African Muslim Charitable Trust was the first to respond with a R 100,000 contribution and to date we have collected a further R 400,000 in cash and kind.
Nativa and the AMKA group has provided us with Vitamins, Immune Boosters and Sanitisers valued at close to R 100,000
iziGourmet assisted us with ready-‐to-‐eat meals for about 100 individuals.
Maersk Shipping and Smada Security was on hand to provide PPE including visors, gowns, and masks.
Together with civil society, MealSA has been able to put together more than 3,000 Vitamin packs which comprise Vitamins C, D, Zinc, Paracetamol and a menthol rub ointment. This being the first phase of the campaign. Our objective, as with the mielie meal initiative, is to procure product at the best possible pricing, thus increasing quantity with the same quantum of funds available.
Funds have been collected for a further 2,000 packs and will be prepared after a needs-‐analysis is conducted to ensure that the vitamins get to the people that really need them.
These packs are earmarked for distribution in:
- Cape Town
- Northern KzN
In addition, we have provided more than 200 units of Immune Booster vitamins to Swaziland.
The sisters in our community have worked together with the Marlboro Women’s Forum to prepare more than 400 “care packs” targeted for distribution to healthcare workers under the headline of “We Salute You”. A small token to say thank you to these soldiers who have worked tirelessly in challenging circumstances.
MealSA has also had the opportunity to assist families in need with their bills for Covid and blood tests as well as for medication required during these challenging periods.
Currently MealSA and certain other organizations are in discussions with Vitamin suppliers to make endeavors to reduce the costing of packs, which in turn will benefit organizations to increase the number of packs distributed with the same funds available. We have found significant disparity in pricing. This has been an evolutionary process and we will continue to strive for best value.
MealSA will continue to assess the situation as it progresses and the campaign to assist those in need will be monitored. We humble appeal to all our benefactors, no matter how small or how big the contribution, to continue to support MealSA in its endeavors. All of what we achieve is only with the blessings of the Almighty and the support of South Africans at large.