Cape Town Soup Kitchen Partnership to Fight Africa’s Hunger Crisis

South Africa has a huge hunger crisis. In 2019, 11% of the South African population (6.5 million people) were suffering from hunger according to Stats SA

In July of 2020 a report was handed in to the Western Cape government, looking at the worsening hunger crisis in the city. The report took feedback from NGOs around the city. Of these NGOs, 89% said that they had seen an increased need for food in poor communities. While, 70% said they were experiencing diminishing resources and volunteers. This is an urgent crisis that needs to be solved.

Stopping Hunger in South Africa

Hunger has only worsened in South Africa during 2020 due to lockdowns caused by COVID-19. In July of 2020 The Conversation conducted a survey to see the state of food security in the country. According to the survey, two out of five adults interviewed had lost their households main source of income since lockdown started. This naturally affected food security in the country. 47% of adults interviewed reported that their home ran out of money to buy food in April. 21% reported that someone in their household went hungry at some point during May and June. While 15% said that a child in their home went hungry during that same period.

Causes of Hunger in South Africa

While the long term goal is to solve the food insufficiency crisis in South Africa and the African continent, we are starting our fight against hunger in Cape Town

To truly solve the issue of hunger, we need to first understand the causes of the crisis. The key causes of hunger in South Africa are:


Just under half of South Africa’s adult population lives in poverty. According to research from Stats SA, in 2019, over 49,2% of the population over the age of 18 falls below the poverty line. In 2015, around 41% of people living in sub-Saharan Africa were living on less than $1 a day. In South African terms, depending on the exchange rate, that is between R15-20 a day. 

Naturally this level of poverty results in a hunger crisis as R20 or $1 a day is not sufficient for an individual’s food needs. It barely buys a loaf of bread, and with a 17% increase in food price over the 2020 year, this problem is only likely to get worse.

Environmental factors and infrastructure

South Africa typically has the right natural resources to provide the country with sufficient food. However, over the last few years South Africa has been plagued by droughts throughout the country. The droughts that took place during 2018 and 2019 had a devastating impact on the country’s agriculture and food production.

Another factor that influences hunger in South Africa is that of poor infrastructure. Most starving people in the country live in rural areas or in townships where it can be difficult to provide access to food, water and electricity. All of which are key to ending the hunger crisis.

Gender Inequality

According to The Hunger Project, gender inequality is a major driving force behind hunger. The problem in South Africa specifically is that female led households experience more hunger than male led households. Almost 7 out of 10 females in led households in South Africa’s traditional areas live below the poverty line, but the same is only true for 6 out of 10 male led households. 
This is due to Gender issues [link to gender-based violence blog] such as the lack of access to wealth creation for female led households, gender-based violence, as well as high rates of absent fathers which further worsens the situation resulting in greater poverty.

Pandemics and epidemics

South Africa has suffered severe consequences from disease such as the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In 2015, it was estimated that nearly 7.5 million people in South Africa live with HIV and AIDS. Those suffering with the illness are often unable to do certain forms of labour to earn a living or feed themselves.

In 2020, 2.2 million people lost their jobs due to the lockdown restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. 

The resulting higher than normal levels of unemployment and illness further spread  poverty and hunger.

Our Vision For Fighting Hunger In Cape Town

In order to solve the hunger crisis in South Africa, we need to solve the above issues. Our long term vision is to solve these problems across Africa, however,we need to start where we can. Which is why we are focusing on Cape Town and providing for hunger needs in the area. 

At Open Foundation we are working on a variety of projects to help curb the hunger crisis in Cape Town. Included in these projects are our feeding scheme and Sustainable Farming Skills Training that we provide through Lavender Manor. 

Our feeding scheme provides for the areas of Khayelitsha, Joe Slovo, Wallacedene, Bloekombos, Fisantekraal, Elsies River and Scottsdene. Many of the ingredients we use in these meals are provided for by our sustainable farming initiative. So far we have served over 500 000 meals and continue to serve 5000+ meals a week.

 To help us in this cause and to expand our impact on those in need around Cape Town we have partnered with Ladles of Love.

Ladles of Love

The Ladles of Love soup kitchen for the homeless was founded in 2014 by Daniele Diliberto. It was founded on the basis of an ancient Sanskrit word called Seva, meaning giving of yourself, wanting nothing in return. 

In 2020, Ladles of Love developed an increased capacity. They managed to increase capacity and have been able to  provide nearly 11 million meals since the start of lockdown in South Africa!

Recognising the need for food security, they created a division to provide grants and training to community organisations that help establish catering kitchens to feed more people in need. To date, they have awarded 20 community organisations grants and training. This division has enabled the community organisations to feed up to 1 000 people per mealtime.  

With the current global conditions, and the impact of various lockdowns. The impact of unemployment cannot be understated, hunger is here for the foreseeable future. Ladles of Love is providing for this need.

Their Purpose

“We enable enterprising people to provide food for themselves and their families, with dignity.”

Their mission

“Ladles of Love is about more than just providing food; it’s about dignity, respect and creating the kind of world we all want to live in. Our volunteers share the joy of serving these meals with the people who are receiving them. For us it is much, much more than feeding the hungry – it’s about feeding the souls both of those being fed and those doing the feeding.”

Their values

“We serve our donors and beneficiaries with integrity, accountability, compassion, respect, and dignity.”

Open Foundation SA Partnership With Ladles of Love

We started working with Ladles of Love on the 14th of July in 2020. They helped us set up a donor kitchen on the 22nd of July 2020, sponsored by Jody Scheckter. The kitchen feeds between 250-400 people per day. We received training and all that goes with setting up and running a community kitchen. Ladles of Love helped us set up a community kitchen so that we can help feed the hungry. Going forward we will be partnering with Ladles of Love on our garden project at Lavender Manor. We will be working together to help communities learn to sustain themselves, moving from a hand out to a hand up approach.


How you can help fight hunger in Cape Town

If you want to help our work to try solve the hunger crisis in Africa. You can volunteer at a soup kitchen or volunteer to help us figure out how to solve these issues. Alternatively, donating to Ladles of Love or Open Foundation will go a long way in providing the necessary support to solve the hunger crisis in South Africa.

Soup Kitchens in Cape Town

If you are looking to help volunteer to help feed the homeless in Cape Town. Ladles of Love has a number of soup kitchens you can join:

  • The Hope Exchange (14A Roeland Street, Cape Town CBD) – Tuesdays at 17:15 or on Saturdays at 11:15
  • Culemborg Safe Space (Nelson Mandela Blvd, Foreshore) – Wednesdays at 17:30
  • The Haven Night Shelter (Napier Street, Green Point) – Thursdays at 17:30

Get involved  to help fight hunger in Cape Town today and Africa tomorrow!

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