AGAINST HUNGER - Food relief program for South Africa

The SA Federation for Mental Health (SAFMH) is the largest national mental health organisation in South Africa. As a national organisation we serve to empower mental health care users and mental health organisations nationwide, advocate for the human rights of mental health care users, develop and disseminate credible mental health information and create much needed awareness of mental health so as to reduce stigma and discrimination towards mental health care users.

SAFMH also engages with government and other key stakeholders in the mental health sector nationally and internationally with the aim of creating a society in which mental health and the wellbeing of mental health care users receive the attention they deserve.

The seventeen (17) mental health member organisations from across South Africa, are independent organisations that provide direct community based mental health services to marginalised communities. These services include counselling, skills development, statutory intervention, residential care, psycho-social rehabilitation services, day care for persons with intellectual disability, mental health awareness raising programmes using various social media platforms as well as food and nutrition provision.

Since the lockdown in March 2020, SAFMH and these seventeen organisations provided much needed remote mental health services to support mental health care users, their families and others in addition to providing food parcels to destitute families. It is important to note that there is no health without mental health and that families need support and care during these difficult times.

Mental health service users and their families who are in dire need of humanitarian aid. They are caught in a poverty-disability trap and face hunger as an extreme result of unemployment or underemployment made considerably worse by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and extended lockdown.

Food parcels are delivered to the homes of our beneficiaries, sparing them the indignity of having to queue for food in public places, lessening the risk of contracting COVID-19, and offering them hope and a sense of community. Each food hamper is filled with nutritious food and costs R400.00 to feed a family of 6 individuals living is historically disadvantaged communities.

The food parcels bring real and immediate relief to hungry families, improving the nutrition and physical well-being of vulnerable children, youth, adults and elderly persons who benefit from our food parcels, and boosting their resilience and immunity to disease.


“Hunger has no place in the 21st century. And yet, acute hunger has risen almost 70% in four years. Life-saving humanitarian work and support to livelihoods must continue, no matter what challenges COVID-19 throws at us.”

From the statement by David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP), release of the Global Report on Food Crises and COVID-19 implications in the hungriest countries.