Just one 5kg bag of maize meal feeds a family for nearly a week. Thanks to a generous donation from Spar South Rand and Lead SA Hero of Year, Jordan van der Walt’s decision to choose Joint Aid Management South Africa (JAM SA) as a beneficiary, 560 families in the Itsoseng and Lanseria informal settlements in Johannesburg will not have to worry about how to put food on their tables for the next week.
On Wednesday 18 September, Jordan van der Walt, his mom, Lynn and Greg Segel, senior retail operations manager at Spar South Rand joined JAM SA for a morning to remember.
It all started when Jordan was invited to speak at a Spar members’ meeting in May. A challenge was put out to the audience that, for every bag that the members donate to Jordan’s Just One Bag Campaign, Spar South Rand would match. “We got together over 19 pallets of maize but the logistics of distributing it was a nightmare. That’s when Lynn van der Walt (Jordan’s mom) suggested JAM SA,” explains Segel.
Five minutes after leaving the JAM base in Honeydew, the group reached their first stop: Badisa Day Care in Itsoseng, owned by Julia Molefe and home – during the day – to over 50 energetic zero to six-year-olds.
The familiar sight of the JAM bakkie (which delivers their highly nutritious porridge) brought the kids out of their classrooms smiling. They began to recite the days of the week and provinces of South Africa before launching into a very loud, very proud rendition of the national anthem. Mama Julia’s response when finding out that this 13-year-old boy had instigated the Just One Bag campaign and that a retailer as big as Spar had come on board was simply, “wow!”
This reaction was repeated by every child care centre owner we visited. “Baie baie dankie, this is going to help so much,” comments Constance Mokoena, owner of Sisonke Day Care. At every centre, everyone was entertained by the children’s singing and, of course, the high fives and ‘sharp’ thumb flicks that the kids love to do whenever anyone visits their centres! There was also time for the group to get down to the kids’ level, helping them draw and paint at Badisa and then get involved in a game of ‘duck, duck, goose’ at Sisonke Day Care. For Jordan, the best part of the morning was getting to play with the children. “It was amazing to see how happy these children are even though they live in such poverty,” he says.
“This is going to make a very big difference for the families of our children,” says Maria Lekgatle, owner of Itsoseng Day Care Centre, “thank you!”
By the end of JAM SA’s distribution of the maize donated by Spar, more than 2 000 families will have been blessed with a 5kg bag of Spar Super Maize Meal. “Even though we are helping the children of these communities through our Red Bowl of porridge every morning, we are not reaching their families. A contribution like this from Spar and Jordan helps us to further entrench our support of the community as a whole,” comments Ann Pretorius, co-founder of JAM. “Jordan is just an inspiration – he’s truly leading SA and showing us that it doesn’t matter what age you are, you can make a difference!”
“It’s been a very good morning and important as it’s for a good cause. I know we’re on the right track…but we mustn’t stop here, we must carry on!” concludes Spar’s Greg Segel.
We can all make a difference, one child at a time.
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