ACFS Community Education & Feeding Scheme (ACFS) is a registered Non Profit Organisation founded by the late Bishop Trevor Huddleston in 1945 in Sophia Town, Johannesburg. He saw the plight of the needy malnourished children & teamed up with a group of volunteers who fed the children with the aim of combating malnutrition. The organisation has historically focused on the education & development of young children by ensuring that they get a well-balanced diet during the school day to enable them to perform and to achieve their full learning and development potential. In addition, the parents of children have been supported through a range of skills development initiatives aimed at increasing household income. Seventy-five years on, the organisation still provides this essential service for children and their marginalised families. We work predominantly in the marginalised townships and informal settlements of Soweto, Alexandra, Thembisa and Tsakane.
Our work is located in the context that more than 6 million children in South Africa continue to suffer multidimensional levels of poverty. This compounding poverty, places a severe burden on the family, stifles the child’s ability to develop fully and compromises and robs her of the opportunity to become a responsive, active and engaged citizen. As the turmoil and crisis of the COVID19 Virus erupts all around us, one thing is clear … the poor will be most affected and in many cases have no options to respond to the virus as some of our privileged communities do.
It is because of this harsh reality that ACFS Community Education and feeding scheme must choose to stay the course and ensure that our vulnerable communities, who are food insecure on most good days, remain supported to go through this lockdown crisis. For many of our families, their livelihoods have been wiped away with no notice. They find themselves cramped up in overcrowded homes and shacks and with restless children, now out of school. The requirement for food and nutrition is suddenly multiplied as children are at home 24/7 sharing very constrained spaces in the marginalised townships. Without a dependable source and support to access food, these vulnerable families will have more to worry about than just the spread of the COVID19 virus – they will go hungry. Many children in the townships depend on the school nutrition programme as well as our nutrition centres for a full meal each day. With this lockdown now fully in place, the food security for many of the children and families is significantly compromised.
It is because of this reality that ACFS must firmly respond to this need and ensure that throughout this period of uncertainty, we can at least provide some support through the distribution of basic food parcels for our most vulnerable households. We need your support to get food parcels in these households. As I already mentioned, the majority of the households under our care live from hand to mouth. Much of the meagre earnings the make are made on the streets. Those streets are now a war zone where it’s impossible to ply their trade- whatever it was. Five days in lockdown means five days of no adequate food. We simply cannot turn our backs on them. We need you!