As we recognise World Food Day on 16 October, Mediclinic and ER24 together with Rise Against Hunger (RAH) will be packing over 130 000 meals with the invaluable help of their employees.

Focusing on early childhood development centres (ECDs), these packaged meals improve access to nutritious meals for children ages 1-6. These meals are centred on feeding children during their most critical development years and are accompanied by an educational element for the facilities as well.

A key element of Mediclinic’s social responsibility portfolio includes employee volunteerism. This allows the specific staff members to give back directly to their community, touching on specific needs.

“We have chosen this channel as a tangible contribution towards the fight against hunger in our country. Rise Against Hunger allows us to ensure that nutritious meals are accessible, and we are able to nominate some of the recipients in nearby communities. This year, we have 8 hospitals participating, including some in the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng and our Corporate Office in Stellenbosch,” explains Bob Govender, Industry Affairs Executive for Mediclinic Southern Africa.

Our long-term relationship with RAH culminates in staff volunteerism events each year, with departments competing to pack meals, but ultimately, it is a tangible demonstration of our employees wanting to give back.

This year, we have also partnered with East Coast Radio, in collaboration with Mediclinic Pietermaritzburg, allowing the 50 000 meals packed at this facility will be delivered to charities nominated by listeners to the station. This initiative is part of the station's Big Favour”, which allows for a deeper penetration to beneficiaries who may not otherwise receive exposure.

“Many of our hospitals also draw in teams from ER24 who volunteer to pack when not on shift, or during lunch breaks. This allows for an improved working relationship with the emergency medicine teams and gives them the opportunity to engage with hospital colleagues on a casual level, and enjoy the event,” adds Govender.

Feeding schemes such as those supported by Rise Against Hunger have a threefold impact on the children, namely enhancing children's active learning capacity; alleviating short-term hunger; and providing an incentive for children to attend school.

“We want the future of our nation to be strong, and when our teams at hospitals or Corporate Office give up some of their time, they can make a difference – now and into the future of our precious nation,” concludes Govender.