Spreading the love: Lisa Walters (right) and Bridget Searle are part of a group which has found a simple and sustainable way to feed hungry schoolchildren living near them | Photo: Nicky Elliott
AS SOUTH AFRICA’S NEW SCHOOL YEAR GETS GOING, many of its vulnerable children will be learning on empty stomachs. This makes so many of us feel helpless, but a group of Cape Town women have found a simple and sustainable way to fill the stomachs of schoolchildren in their immediate vicinity. LISA WALTERS, a 53-year-old mother of two from Constantia, told BRONWEN BOWMER how Nutrition for Tuition works…
‘It all started seven years ago. My close friend, Claire Stevenson, rounded up some willing participants from a group of friends to try to make a difference to children at Westlake Primary School, quite close to us.
Claire’s idea was to make sure that as many schoolchildren as possible got a sandwich and piece of fruit every day of the school week. They get a sponsored cooked meal at school but for many that’s their only food of the day, so the sandwich and fruit make a difference. I jumped at the chance to get involved. There are more than 300 children and it breaks my heart that so many of them might not have much else to eat otherwise.
My group is responsible for Tuesdays. Each of us buys three loaves of bread and makes about 60 sandwiches. Some weeks it’s peanut butter, other weeks it’s apricot jam. If it’s my turn to deliver to the school, the other five women in my group drop their sandwiches at my house. Otherwise, I simply take my sandwiches and bag of apples to the woman in my group whose turn it is.
Making the sandwiches has become part of my weekly routine and I absolutely love doing it. Anyone can do this! I put some music on, get out the ingredients and get spreading.
It’s calming, in fact so much so that my daughter sometimes shoves me out of the way for her own dose of sandwich-making therapy. It doesn’t take long and its not a big deal but I get a lot of satisfaction from knowing it’s enhancing a child’s life.’
Nutrition for Tuition needs volunteers and features in our Life Support Directory under Hungry Schoolchildren. If you can spare an hour or two a week, please contact Claire at email@example.com — or you could always kickstart your new year by creating something similar for hungry children in your own neighbourhood 🙂