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JPC strengthens food Security for Mandela​
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Mandela Day – on Saturday July 26 – has come and gone but for the City of Johannesburg, every day is Mandela Day.

The Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), the City’s property arm, continued to keep the spirit of his selflessness alive this week when it enhanced food security and sustainability among vulnerable members of the community by establishing food gardens in old age homes, daycare centres and hospices throughout the city’s seven regions under the theme: “6 Crops, 7 Gardens”.

The theme is a play on the number of years – 67 – that Madiba spent fighting for democracy, freedom and social justice or the 67 minutes millions of individuals spent on his birthday on Saturday working on projects aimed at benefiting people less privileged than themselves. The six crops that have been planted in the seven food gardens are beetroot, tomato, carrots, spinach, cabbage and sweet potato.

The JPC’s initiative was also in line with the City of Johannesburg’s Food Resilience Programme spearheaded by Executive Mayor Councillor Parks Tau, who once said there was no justification for anyone in Johannesburg to go to bed hungry when there was enough land available to plant vegetables. On Wednesday at Supa Dimama Senior Citizens Centre in Ivory Park, Region A, about 70 senior citizens broke into song in a show of appreciation after JPC employees established a food garden on the facility’s premises.

Th e centre’s founder, Josephine Mpofu, said the food garden would assist in ensuring there was food on the table for the elderly. She said as she had to feed nearly 70 senior citizens on a daily basis, food was a serious challenge facing the centre, which operates from Monday to Friday every week. Mpofu said that, because of high levels of poverty in the community, the centre was at times forced to hand out food parcels to senior citizens to share with their children and grandchildren at home. “The food garden will definitely come in handy for everyone,” she said.

At the Footprint Hospice in Orlando West in Soweto, Region D, co-founder Mary Jwaai was equally elated. She said she was certain the food garden would contribute to the health of the centre’s patients. Footprint Hospice was established in 2002 in response to the scourge of HIV-Aids in the country.

“JPC played a significant role in getting us started. Now we have four wards, with 26 beds and a screening room, which we didn’t have previously. We also have a beautiful food garden, thanks again to JPC,” she said.

Other charity organisations that have benefited from JPC’s acts of selflessness are Roodepoort Care for the Aged in Roodepoort, Region C; Riverlea Hands of Compassion in Riverlea, Region B; Mount Olive Outreach in Lehae, Region G; Kids in the Groove in Orange Grove, Region E; and Lerato Primary School in Eikenhof, Region F.