17 June 2020 | Story Andre Damons | Photo Supplied
Food parcels
Annelize Visagie (Food Environment Office, with the black mask), Belinda Janeke (Career Services) and Angelo Mockie (Art, Culture and Dialogue Office) from the Division Student Affairs (DSA) busy preparing food parcels in the storeroom at the Thakaneng Bridge

Between 40 and 50 students from the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein receive daily food parcels during the lockdown, thanks to the cooperation between the Food Environment Office at the UFS, Tiger Brands, and the Total Garage in Brandwag.

Annelize Visagie from the Division of Student Affairs (DSA), who is heading the Food Environment Office at the UFS, says just before the national lockdown started in March, they signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Tiger Brands to sponsor 500 food parcels to students who do not have bursaries. This is part of the UFS strategic goal of improving student success and wellbeing. UFS staff is working hard to implement initiatives and obtain sponsorships – such as this one with Tiger Brands – as well as food donations to ensure that students do not go hungry.

“Then the lockdown happened. However, the project continued, with Tiger Brands still sponsoring food parcels. Students email me and I respond to those emails. We are also looking at including students from the South Campus in the project.”

“I deliver the food parcels to the Total Garage across from the campus, where students collect it. We give between 40 and 50 parcels every day and have helped 650 students thus far. These parcels cost Tiger Brands R80 000 a month. We also provide students with vegetables from vegetable tunnels on campus,” says Visagie.

Visagie says the cooperation between the outside companies, the UFS, and even staff and students who volunteer, is heart-warming to see especially during this time of crisis. So is the gratitude from the students. They are also in discussions with the humanitarian organisation Gift of the Givers to provide 200 food parcels to needy students from next month.

“We have a supply chain going on in the storeroom at the Thakaneng Bridge. It is great to see how staff members and students jumped in to help us pack the parcels. We have permits and more students want to help, but they can’t get onto campus at this time. We would not be able to do this without the help of Tiger Brands and the Total Garage.”  

The DSA Food Environment Office is also collaborating with senior management on the UFS Qwaqwa and South campuses to distribute food parcels on these two campuses.

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