This is a quick post to announce the Melville Food Program, which I’ve blogged about many times during lockdown (see here and here and here), did its last large-scale food parcel distribution at Heritage Baptist Church today. This amazing group of volunteers, led by Tanya and Sean Gardiner, have given out more than 5,400 food parcels (around 300,000 total meals) to Melville area residents over the past four months.

Sign saying the Melville Food Program is finished
Food parcel distribution at Heritage Baptist Church
The last of the food parcels.

Obviously this is sad news, as the need in our community is still very great and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. But this huge intervention — fully volunteer-run and funded on the fly — was a temporary stopgap, meant to keep as many bellies full as possible during the harshest months of the lockdown. It simply couldn’t last forever.

But this is not the last you’ll hear of this grass-roots initiative. The masterminds behind the Melville Food Program are taking one week off and then they’ll be back in business, supporting the community in new, sustainable ways. The program will also continue to fundraise with help from its nonprofit partner, the Viva Foundation. I’ll update you as soon as I have more news to share.

Today I just want to commend the Melville Food Program volunteers for a job well done. In fact, “well done” doesn’t cut it. I have never before encountered such a positive, hardworking, talented group of people and I’m incredibly grateful for the tremendous contribution they’ve made — and will continue to make — to my community.

Sophie Melville Food Program volunteer
Thank you Sophie.
Tanya takes recipient photos at the Melville Food Program
Thank you Tanya.
Sean Gardiner in his mask
Thank you Sean.
Mbali and Hugh at the food program
Thank you Mbali and Hugh.
Lucy at the food program
Thank you Lucy.
Hannah giving out hand sanitizer at the Melville Food Prgram
Thank you Hannah.
Prince Sithole from Beagle Watch
Thank you Prince and all the other guys from Beagle Watch.
Group photo of food program volunteers
Thank you everyone, including quite a few faithful volunteers who didn’t make it for this photo.

And thanks to everyone reading this post who has donated to the program since I started writing about it in May. I wish I had a way of counting up all of your donations — I know it’s A LOT and you’ve helped feed hundreds of people.

As I said, the Melville Food Program isn’t ending. So if you want to donate, please use the banking details below or contact me.

Name: Viva Foundation
Branch: FNB Olympus Plaza Code 258155
Acc Nr.: 622 4884 3270
Reference: Melville
SWIFT: FIRNZAJJZXXX

Viva, Melville. Viva!

Crazy group photo Melville Food Program
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