Sophy Mangoke had big shoes to fill when she took over the running of Abangani Enkosini, the organisation her deceased mother, Portia, established in Alexandra more than a decade ago.
Sophy (35) had always been involved in the organisation, doing administrative tasks and helping to serve the daily meals, but being in charge of everything was a different story altogether and very daunting for her.
Portia started the organisation to provide home-based care for people living with HIV/Aids, but the need to feed orphaned and vulnerable children in the township as well as the elderly was greater, so that became the main focus of the organisation.
“Our organisation is wholly dependent on donations that go towards preparing the 250 meals we prepare daily. Our partnership with Shoprite and Checkers has acted like a safety net because I can always depend on something coming through from them each day,” says Sophy, who became CEO of Abangani Enkosini with her mother’s passing in 2015.
She and her team regularly collect surplus food from Checkers Hyper Sandton and Shoprite Alex Mall. Their organisation is one of the 336 organisations that have since the start of lockdown been collecting surplus food of over R60 million from Shoprite and Checkers stores.
Before the lockdown they provided 150 meals per day. Lockdown meant that two out of every five adults said their household had lost its primary income source, while almost half had run out of money to buy food during April. They had to increase the number of meals to 250 and that total has not decreased even with the further easing of restrictions.
“We have not gone one day without providing for the people dependent on us for food and it’s all thanks to continued support from partners such as Shoprite and Checkers,” she explains
“Providing for the hungry in our communities is an absolute priority for us at the Shoprite Group,” says Lunga Schoeman, the Group’s CSI Manager. “In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, we have doubled down on efforts to provide food to hungry South Africans. Our surplus food donations have contributed significantly to the over 20 million meals we’ve distributed since the start of the lockdown.”