Over 1 million meals have been served to vulnerable and poor children by the Western Cape Education Department as part of its emergency school feeding programme. The programme came into effect after government shut down all national feeding schemes following the nationwide lockdown.
In a media statement, the provincial department of education said an average of 65 000 learners receive food on each of the two days a week that meals are served.
“We could not ignore the impact of the lockdown on the nutrition of school learners who rely on the programme, and we needed to find a way to support these learners,” said the department.
The emergency programme commenced in the first week of 6-10 April, providing takeaway meals for learners with additional funding from the Provincial Treasury.
Just last month, Inside Education reported that the Western Cape Department of Education came under fire following its decision to launch an R18 million feeding school programme in the province during the national lockdown period.
However, Western Cape Education Department MEC Debbie Schafer said the department is working with service providers to ensure that children who normally qualify for the national school feeding programme received their meals during the lockdown.
“The National School Nutrition Programme feeds about 483,000 of our poorer learners. We need to get to as many learners as possible in this very difficult time,” said Schafer.
With additional funding from the Provincial Treasury for emergency feeding, WCED schools began to provide takeaway meals for learners through an emergency programme across the Province in the week of 6-10 April 2020.
The Department said since 6 April 2020, over 1.2 million meals have been served to learners (1 222 082 meals to be exact as of 12 May 2020).
The provincial education department thanked everyone involved in making the emergency feeding programme possible.
“This achievement lies solely on the shoulders of those who fought hard to get the programme up and running and those that were on the ground ensuring that meals were provided and safety protocols were in place,” she added.