Patrick Chitumba Midlands Bureau Chief
A TOTAL of 150 residents of Gweru have received food hampers under the “Feed a Million Challenge” initiative, which is being rolled out by a bureau de change and remittance services provider, Access Forex.
The donation is a response to drought induced food shortages, which have seen many households struggling to get mealie meal. The situation has been worsened by the Covid-19 lockdown.
Access Forex has committed US$200 000 towards a target fund of US$1 million aimed at supporting up to one million vulnerable groups across the country with food aid through a partnership with Caritas Zimbabwe and Jointed Hands Welfare Organisation (JHWO).
The programme started in Harare, Bulawayo, Victoria Falls and has been extended to Gweru and Kwekwe. The beneficiaries, mostly the elderly, the disabled and members of childheaded families from Mtapa, Ascot, Mkoba and Mambo suburbs received food hampers on Monday. They were identified by Caritas and JHWO, which have branches in the suburbs.
Mr Isau Bwerinofa, chairman of Access Forex Feed a Million Programme said their desire was to assist the vulnerable groups with food especially during lockdown when movement is limited. “In response to Covid -19 pandemic and also in support of the Government, Access Forex initiatived this ‘Feed a Million Challenge.’ We are in this fight against Covid-19 and therefore the need to complement the Government,” he said.
Mr Bwerinofa called on other companies to come forward and assist in feeding the people disadvantaged by the lockdown. The country has so far registered four deaths out of 37 Covid-19 cases. Government has also unveiled various cross-cutting measures to contain the spread of the virus.
An appeal to raise more than US$2,2 billion to counteract the socio-economic impact of the pandemic has since been launched, including a ZWL$600 million kitty to provide for social safety nets.
The United Nations has put out the figure of 4.1 million people in Zimbabwe in need of food aid because of shortages induced by climate change or recurring droughts and economic challenges. It is against this background that Access Forex has come on board to complement Government efforts in enhancing food distribution to vulnerable communities.