How Jackie Cameron’s school has been helping to feed those in need during lockdown

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How Jackie Cameron's school has been helping to feed those in need during lockdown

Jackie Cameron, chef and owner of the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine, has been working with two other powerhouse women to help feed families in need during the pandemic

Jackie Cameron first met Wonderbag founder, Sarah Collins, and Carolyn Hancock two years ago, when she teamed up with two organisations run by Carolyn – the Thembelihle School in Howick and Angels Care Centre – to form Feeding the Future. Feeding the Future aims to bring about real change for impoverished communities living in vulnerable and under-serviced communities.

“My students and I helped design Thembelihle’s newly built kitchen within their new multipurpose hall, and we did a balanced diet plan for the kids,” explains Jackie. “When lockdown hit, our first thought was to ensure that these two organisations were covered for food.”

The students of Jackie’s cooking school began helping by making sandwiches in their own kitchens at home. “I wanted to get them involved without putting them at risk,” says Jackie. “I want to mentor my students to inspire them to also contribute.” But Jackie had a nagging need to feed more and the most in need closest to her home and school. The solution: subsidised Wonderbags filled with food.

The Wonderbag is a heat-retention cooker that allows food that has been brought to the boil by conventional methods to continue to cook for up to 12 hours, without using any additional energy source. It uses 70% less fuel than traditional cooking methods, so assists families in being able to spend what little money they have on food, rather than fuel.

Chris Kinsley of Freshly Picked approached his team of suppliers who donated fresh vegetables. These are
loaded up into the Wonderbag along with some basic groceries including samp and beans, maize meal, sugar, oil, tea, toilet paper, soup powder and IMANA soya mince and frozen soup in two-litre milk bottles (also made using the donated vegetables, and prepared by Jackie and her mother at her cookery school).

Jackie has partnered with African Enterprise to reach the needy closest to her school in the Sweetwaters area and in other areas in and around Pietermaritzburg. African Enterprise handles the deliveries, ensuring the
parcels reach those who need them most. Jackie is pregnant so she doesn’t accompany them to minimise risk. “But they’ve brought back really beautiful stories. As soon as I started sharing their stories on social media, I started feeling like I was really getting support.”

One particularly moving story involved an elderly woman in a wheelchair who insisted on picking up the parcel herself. When questioned, she explained: “Today I had my last mielie meal and everything else inside the house is finished, but last night I prayed begging the heavens that a miracle can happen. So today for me this is a miracle and this miracle has given me the strength to try and limp forward and try get this bag myself.”

Stories like this one have helped donations to come in, but more help is needed. “We recently had an extra 100
families coming for our Wonderbag gift parcels,” says Jackie. “Sadly I am unsure if we are going to be able to help everyone. We need more support and donations.”

How to donate

1 EFT:

WONDERBAG Foundation NPO
FNB account number: 62320803861
Branch code: 250655
Email: jackie@jackiecameron.co.za a proof of payment so that she can correctly allocate the donation.

2. Buy a WONDERmask for R40

Contact Jackie at jackie@jackiecameron.co.za. You can choose to purchase one or sponsor one for donation with a Wonderbag.

3. If you’re in the area, donate food by dropping it at the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in Hilton.

4. Donate warm winter clothing by dropping it at Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine. She will distribute it to Angels Care Centre.

Katharine Pope Article by: Katharine Pope

TASTE's head of digital is an adventurous, if somewhat haphazard cook. Her best recipes are family classics, passed down from her mother's flipfile.

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