The Wits Food Bank is close to empty

Done N’ Dusted: The Wits food bank is running low on supplies and appealing to Witsies to donate food for needy students.                   Photo: Tendai Dube

DONE N’ DUSTED: The Wits food bank is running low on supplies and appealing to Witsies to donate food for needy students.                Photo: Tendai Dube

The Wits Food Bank is running out of food. The food bank is a campaign of the Wits Citizenship and Community Outreach centre (WCCO) aimed at “managing food insecurity among students,” said Karuna Singh who is the manager of the food bank.

The initiative started in 2013 and provides students in need with toiletries and food.
Early into this school year, an email was circulated requesting staff to donate whatever non-perishables they could to the bank as it was nearing depletion.

The food bank left with only food parcels that are donated from Stop Hunger Now, but they need more.
“Those meal packs come with rice, lentils and soya mince, so it’s quite a nice nutritional pack but it’s six meals in a pack and it has to be cooked,” said Singh.

“You can’t possibly eat that every day – students want something faster so tinned foods are good, peanut butter is always brilliant – the protein,” Singh added.

The food bank has steadily been running out of tinned food and other necessities needed to supplement the food parcels they give out to students and as of this week they cannot make a single package, which usually lasts a month.

According to Singh, approximately 500 food parcels have been given to students since July last year, with “an average of eight students a day coming in to collect”.

“Usually the beginning of the year not too many students are in need as they have just come from holiday,” so the bank expects the need to only get greater.

“We have various projects at WCCO where we have groups of students collecting food. So whether it’s though their friends, family, on campus or through awareness days but obviously that can never be enough so we also look for donations through staff.”

Singh said she was hoping staff and students would do their best to help replenish the food bank if they are able to.

The food bank is run on a volunteer basis by Wits students and their offices are located at Student Affairs, Senate House, Room 37A or WCCO, Matrix basement.


Wits Vuvuzela, Seven percent of undergrads at Wits attending lectures without food, July 15, 2014

SCIENCE INSIDE: The Ice Bucket Challenge

The ice bucket challenge, which went viral across social media earlier this year, aims to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic laterial sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. This week’s show looks at the attention the disease has been getting these past few months and speaks to people who are affected by the disease, here in South Africa.

The Science Inside, the show that goes inside the science of major news events, is produced by Paul McNally, Anina Mumm, DJ Keyez and Lutfiyah Suliman for The Wits Radio Academy. Tune in live to VowFM every Monday at 6pm.

If the full podcast does not load automatically, please click here.

Witsies help to feed fellow students

The Student  Affairs division at Senate House has started a drive to collect food and toiletries for students who are most in need of these items.

Ashina Sarawan, Projects Officer for Student Affairs said their mandate was to offer “social support” to students. This support  cannot be monetary but they do aim to meet some of their  immediate needs.

Some of the things students need support with are things like food, clothes and toiletries. There are a number of drives and campaigns that are run by the division and also through student initiatives through the Wits Volunteer Programme which supply the above-mentioned items for students.

At present a toiletry drive has been launched. The drive works on a donation basis whereby students and staff donate whatever toiletries they can and these are then distributed to students in need. The toiletry packs are gender specific, said Sarawan.

The food drive is a new project that the division started running towards the end of February. They are looking for small quantities of food and items like rice, beans, tinned food and maize meal.

DONATIONS: This is what has been donated thus far.  Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

DONATIONS: This is what has been donated thus far.
Photo: Pheladi Sethusa

When all the food is collected, the division will put together food packs. Sarawan said this block would be the collection phase of the groceries. During second block the groceries would be handed out.

To get access to some of the donated packs students need to go to the Student Affairs offices to explain their situation. It is a very transparent system that doesn’t discriminate against any student who comes forward.

“We understand that it is very hard for students to approach us, so we trust that no one would claim packs if they don’t need them,” stated Sarawan.

Burning to Run – Photo Essay

by Jay Caboz


Students fool around before the start of the Wits Students Surgical Society “fun run” held on Wednesday evening at the JCE campus. The run formed part of a charity drive for a new burns rehabilitation centre run by young burn victim Pippie Kruger’s mother Anice. An estimated 300 runners attended the event.












Two million reasons to shine

BRIDGING the social gap that many students from poor backgrounds have to grapple with when coming to university has received nearly two million rands for its continuation.

The Targeting Talent Project at Wits has been given a donation of R1 828 500 from the Industrial Development Corporation.

The project helps high school students through mentorship programmes, tutorials offered by students from Wits Volunteers and classes that expose these young minds to the ins and outs of their choice of profession.

Pupils accepted into the project are advised on their subject choices from grade 10 and offered support all the way to their grade 12 exams. Testament to its success is the first group of students enrolled in the project passing matric with university entrance, most of whom are now doing their 1st year at Wits University.

Nkululeko Ngwesheni, 1st year BSc, has been in the project since its inception when he was in grade 10 at Mandisa Shiceka High School in Kagiso, a township in Krugersdorp.

“Where I come from the mentality is that you have to spend time selling chips and sweets on the corner. When I entered this project, it brought a new dimension to life that now I shouldn’t just focus on finishing my grade 12, trying to get work at Pick n Pay or Checkers because that’s what most of the people from where I live do after matric.

“So it showed me a wide range of opportunities and that you can still study and become something even though you’re from a poor family like me. I am the first one to go to university in my family because I was part of this project,” said Ngwesheni.

Ntsika Mgolombane, from the development and fundraising office said urban schools have more opportunities to enable pupils to access tertiary education, but schools in rural or impoverished areas have pupils who don’t even think it is possible to study beyond matric level.

“The project didn’t just affect me; a good spirit of competition in class grew because everyone wanted to outshine the next person. When I’m done with school I would also like to donate funds into this project,” Ngwesheni said.