According to the retailer, South Africa faces a mass hunger crisis brought on by Covid-19; during the peak of the country's national lockdown, two out of every five adults said their household had lost its primary income source and almost half had run out of money to buy food during April.

With this in mind, the group says that it actively vets grassroots beneficiary organisations around the country, including old age homes and orphanages, and then builds direct relationships between them and nearby stores.

Since the start of lockdown, 327 organisations have received surplus food donations from Shoprite and Checkers supermarkets, which include fresh fruit, vegetables and general groceries. Shoprite took the decision to increase its fleet of Mobile Soup Kitchens from 19 to 26.

By mid-September, the kitchens had served more than 2 million since the start of lockdown. These meals, which include soup and bread, have supported 2 613 organisations. In partnership with its customers, the group says that it also continues to raise money via its Act For Change Fund till-point donation facility.

This fund allows shoppers to donate in any Shoprite, Checkers or Usave nationally and the money collected goes to vetted beneficiary organisations involved in COVID-19 relief efforts in the province where the donation was made. Since March 2020, customers have donated over R2 million to the Act For Change Fund and Shoprite contributed a further R2 million.

By taking hands with its customers, the group has indicated that it has raised more than R4-million in six months via this fund.

"The looming hunger crisis is greatly concerning and we will continue to work hard to share surplus food and to ensure that those most in need in South Africa are able to access healthy and nutritious meals," says the group's CSI Manager Lunga Schoeman.

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