The #MandelaSpirit did not end in July for Wits Food Bank, because many more donations are needed now to meet a shortfall and the needs of desperate students. 

On Friday, August 13, the Wits Food Bank within the Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach (WCCO) reached out to the Wits community and the public at large, asking them to continue with the #MandelaSpirit.

WitBusiness School, in support of the Wits Food Bank, logged a post on its Twitter page asking for R67 and further donations to the Wits Food Bankin support of Wits students in need and echoing the sentiments of Mandela month.

“We truly believe that what the #MandelaSpirit stands for, which is giving your time to serve and care for others, should be continuous regardless of the season,” a volunteer, Sandile Shabangu, told Wits Vuvuzela. 

Up to 1 800 students rely on the Food Bank, as personal circumstances do not allow them to purchase basic needs such as food,” said Philip Baloyi, captain of the WCCO. During the several days of unrest in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Gauteng in July 2021, deliveries from key donors like Tiger Brands saw slight delays. 

The Food Bank has been giving out donations from Shoprite, but Baloyi said it is not guaranteed the supermarket chain will continue donating

Fourth-year BA social work student Scelo Ntuli, who receives donations, relies heavily on food parcels to be productive at school: “Sometimes we might not receive an allowance from home or from NSFAS, resulting in us having no funds for food, therefore this is where I come for food. I cannot study on an empty stomach. It has made a significant impact on my life, said Ntuli.

To keep operating, the Food Bank is accepting donations of old clothing and canned foods to continue giving to needy students.  

“I feel obligated in donating to the initiative because it provides the basic needs of human sustainability and growth, said fourth-year film and television student Sinalo Sithole. “I will continue to donate as there is a great number of people in need of extra support.” 

Donations can be made via the Wits portal under the “Food Program Donation” tab, or individuals can go to the Food Bank on East Campus to donate physically.  

*CORRECTIONS: This story originally said that the provision of resources to the Food Bank had slowed down due to unrest in Kwa-Zulu Natal, as some of Tiger Brands’ warehouses were shut down and torched. The Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach’s senior programme advisor, Karuna Singh says the WCCO volunteer interviewed by Wits Vuvuzela, was misinformed on this particular matter. Singh says, “Tiger Brands warehouses were not shut down or burnt.” Delivery delays caused by the unrest have since been rectified, with minimal effect on inventory as students were on recess at the time she adds. The text above has been updated to reflect this.

FEATURED IMAGE: Thandokazi Mdudi, a Wits Food Bank volunteer giving out food parcels to students. Photo: Ofentse Magudulela