More than 120 residents of Ward 37 were the recipients of the South African Social Security Agency (Sassa) food parcels scheme, recently.

Paul Sykes Primary School Hall, last week Friday, was abuzz with excitement and anticipation, as recipients of the scheme waited in line for a turn to pick up their goods. A total of 122 residents of Newlands West were approved by the agency, following an application session held last month at the councillor’s office.

A delighted Zodwa Dlamini was among the first to arrive, promptly at 9am, at the school hall. “I had to delay my trip to Manguzi, so that I could be here to collect the food parcel myself. The day before, we all received calls from the councillor’s office, informing us that we had been approved and our parcels could be collected the next day,” she said.

The food parcels consisting of 10kg maize meal, vegetables and cooking oil among other perishables, were prepared by Sassa employees including Kevin Chetty, Joyce Cele, Amol Rajpal and other local volunteers. The handover was overseen by Ward Councillor Gugu Zulu.

Dlamini, who could not contain her joy said, “I can’t thank the councillor enough for what she has done for the community. These grocery will see me and my kids through till next month. When I registered, I thought it would take longer than this for Sassa to come back to us. We are truly grateful because every little helps, for when you are in a situation like ours.”

Zulu, Ward 37 councillor, said the recipients of the grant had to meet a certain criteria, stipulated by Sassa, in order to qualify. She said they were among the needy in the community and are part of an unemployment database held by her office.

“The high number of unemployment in the area, spurred my office to get in touch with Sassa, asking for assistance for needy families. Especially those in child headed households. We asked them to assist with food parcels, which we see today have been delivered. The recipients were identified by our database.

“We rotate the recipients via the database. People come to the office and register, stating their case in terms of unemployment and the situation they are under at home, that is where the database comes from. Sometimes it’s vouchers and sometimes its food parcels,” Zulu said.

The food parcels were distributed throughout the day from the school hall. By 11am, more than 60 people had already been to the school and gone. Paul Sykes Primary School principal, said the school was honoured to be part of such a good deed. Zulu urged further assistance from other halls in the area to also assist in future. “We do not have a community hall, so we rely on the good of others to hold events such these. “Hopefully, others will come on board in future and let the councillor’s office host events at their facilities. We are hoping that this good relationship with Sassa will continue, so that needy families have food coming in at home,” Zulu said.