A Community’s response to crisis is made up of the collective effort of each and every person who chooses to take action.
NRPA #GoodNeighbours Community Organiser, Joffy Mills, has been one of many who have been instrumental in the drive to keep everyone in the valley fed during the COVID-19 shut-down. Thanks to his work empowering community efforts to provide food security in Masi, Ocean View and Red Hill there are many fewer of our neighbours going hungry.
When the COVID-19 crisis struck he immediately got involved, working through the CareCompany Community Program arm of his NPO to partner with NoordhoekCAN, Living Hope and other NGOs setting up community kitchens.
“The scale of help meant the initial response was unprecedented and phenomenally good. But the help getting through was a little uneven in places and some tensions started to arise in a very uncertain situation. Some people will always fall through the gaps at the start, so I started by helping those people directly” he says. “It quickly became clear to me that only collectively would we be able to meet the scale of the need we were facing, and only if things were better coordinated.”
Joffy used his background in business planning to map and collect data on as many of the community kitchens in the South Peninsula as he could and set up a bulk food logistics network based on that data to help support a collective food drive that is successfully feeding around 10 000 people, five days a week.
“We duplicated the zonal approach already established for community-kitchens in Ocean View into Masi and ended up with a total network of 103 community kitchens. This network was key to sharing resources so that everyone, everywhere was able to get some food if they needed it. For example, when Woodstock Brewery brought in donated soup, some kitchens on their list may have already cooked and not need it. By moving resources around, we made sure that very little went to waste,” he says.
“We also used the data to look at the quality of the food. A volunteer nutritionist, also from Noordhoek helped us create a simple survey that showed certain areas needed a wider range of ingredients to help keep immunity levels up. Our target was a score of 4 and over the first month of the program we were able to move the majority of kitchens from 2’s and 3’s to nearly all 4’s through simple changes to the crates of food being delivered.”
The collaborative network also allowed the local sub-council to use the Mayor’s Fund to launch their relief effort and provide 42 tons of dry goods to all those kitchens through the CareCompany’s volunteer community program.
“Feeding 10,000 people a day requires so many people to come together through individual efforts or working in groups and organisations. Everyone involved has pulled out all the stops and so far we’ve stopped this crisis becoming a disaster,” he says.
“I believe we need to be more active in our community if we want it to remain as special as it is. Join the Noordhoek ‘CAN’ group or look for organisations whose work interests you. Whether it’s looking after animals, children, the environment or even mentoring young people – find something that you can get behind and support it however you can. We need everybody doing a little bit and together we’ll be able to do more than enough”
Noordhoek Ratepayers (NRPA) Chairperson, Brad Bing, says, “Being ‘Good Neighbours’ to the communities that surround us is one of the NRPA’s 2030 Vision goals. Noordhoek does not exist in isolation, each community in our valley has its own unique challenges but we are interdependent. As the NRPA we take our hats off to Joffy who, along with many others, has been working tirelessly throughout this crisis to make sure everyone in this valley knows that the people of Noordhoek care about them.”
DID YOU KNOW: Supporting the NRPA costs only R200/year per household.
The NRPA not only works on the six community goals developed to keep Noordhoek the best place to live, we also financially support other organisations working in Noordhoek like: On The Verge, Project Noordhoeked, the Common Committee and many more.