Sep 6, 2023
Boland College’s Feeding Scheme: Nourishing Minds, Bodies, and Futures

(From left to right): Mrs. Wendy Adams (Deputy Principal: Registration Services, Mr. Brandon van Wyk (SRC), Mr. Wickus van der Westhuisen (Head of Department: Services Studies & Transport), Dr. Liza Hamman (Campus Manager: Paarl Campus (Acting)), Ms. Zeta Adams (SRC), Mr. Charles Goodwin (Principal Boland College), Mr. Jomo Jacob (Regional Director: TVET), Mrs. Chaleen October (Head of Department: Office Management Sciences (Acting)) and Mr. Danny Plaatjies (Deputy Principal: Corporate Services)

Boland College, Paarl Campus celebrated a significant milestone with the introduction of their new Campus Feeding Scheme. This initiative aims to provide students with much-needed breakfast and lunch, addressing a critical need within the college community. The feeding scheme was officially unveiled during a special event on Wednesday, 6 September 2023. The event was attended by esteemed guests, including Mr. Jacobs, the Regional Director of the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET), Mr. Goodwin, the Principal of Boland College, members of the executive committee (EXCO), campus managers, and valuable partners. The scheme has been a heartfelt response to the challenges faced by many students and stands as a testament to the college’s commitment to improving lives through education.

The inspiration for the Boland College Feeding Scheme can be summed up in the powerful words of Martin Luther King Jr., who once said, “I have the audacity to believe that people everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education, and culture for the minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.” Recognizing the stark reality that many students face, Boland College acknowledges that privilege is not a universal experience. The majority of their students hail from less fortunate backgrounds, often struggling to make ends meet.

Research has revealed that numerous families rely on NSFAS allowances to support themselves, amplifying the importance of addressing the issue. Boland College has witnessed firsthand the challenges faced by students, some arriving on campus without having had breakfast, and lacking sustenance throughout the day due to limited resources. These struggles, though heart-wrenching, have ignited a collective call to action that Boland College simply could not ignore.

After many meetings and collaboration with amazing institutions Boland College found a genuine solution to the campus’s pressing need. The Feeding Scheme has provided a comprehensive solution, offering breakfast and lunch to 150 students daily, totaling 300 meals per day.

Breakfast is served from 7:30 AM, allowing students with early morning classes to start their day nourished. Recognizing that not all students have classes starting at the same time, breakfast is made available until 11:30 AM, accommodating those with later schedules. Lunch is served from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, catering to the varying class end times and preventing long queues.

The Feeding Scheme operates at the Drakenstein Campus. To support students who need to commute between these two Paarl campus locations, the scheme allows them to bring their containers for takeaway. Paarlberg is equipped with a microwave for students to reheat their meals at their convenience. The team carefully monitors student attendance and food availability, adjusting as necessary to ensure no student goes hungry.

The success of the Feeding Scheme at Boland College owes much to the partnerships forged with organizations that share the college’s commitment to student well-being. Among these partners, the Peninsula School Feeding Association (PSFA) played a pivotal role. PSFA supplied not only food but also cooking and eating utensils, as well as gas for the stoves. However, the college was responsible for providing the venue and preparers.

The Social Employment Fund (SEF) and Mr. Trevor Johnson joined the initiative, addressing the challenge of supplying preparers for the Feeding Scheme. SEF workers, passionate about making a difference, manage the day-to-day operations, including food preparation, cooking, cleaning, and waste management. This partnership allows for 8-day workweeks, ensuring full coverage throughout the month.

An unexpected but heartening outcome of the Feeding Scheme has been the educational opportunities it has provided. Boland College students, as part of their Life Orientation curriculum, engage in community work. The Feeding Scheme now serves as a venue for students to fulfill their community service. Additionally, plans are underway to involve students in the college’s food garden project, offering them valuable hands-on experience and teaching the importance of sustainable food production.

The staff at Boland College, driven by passion and dedication, played a crucial role in realizing this project. The team behind this initiative comprises individuals who volunteered their time and expertise to make a difference in students’ lives. Their commitment and enthusiasm have been instrumental in overcoming challenges and ensuring the success of the project.

Boland College’s Feeding Scheme is more than just a response to hunger; it represents a commitment to the welfare and future of its students. This initiative has exceeded expectations, providing nourishment, educational opportunities, and a sense of community. Boland College is proud to have a team of passionate individuals who have made this vision a reality, and it looks forward to further expanding and refining the program and rolling it out to all other Boland College campuses in the future. The college’s Feeding Scheme serves as a powerful example of what can be achieved when a community comes together to address a pressing need and make a positive impact on the lives of its members.