Vergelegen cooks up a storm for local food programme

Rotarian Johan Maritz handing supplies to Hazel Swanepoel and Zanaib White, who distribute in the Rusthof area

VERGELEGEN wine estate in Somerset West has a tradition of 320 years of hospitality – and despite the Covid-19 pandemic, management and staff are staying true to that spirit of generosity.

Since May 14, Vergelegen has prepared 200 meals a day, seven days a week, for distribution to needy communities. The meals are collected from the estate at 1pm by Helderberg Ubuntu Feeds, and distributed through the wider Helderberg area by community leaders and non-profits working in each neighbourhood.

Helderberg Ubuntu Feeds was set up at the start of lockdown by councillors in the Helderberg, the City of Cape Town’s disaster risk management department, the Rotary Club of Somerset West, and local non-profit organisations to co-ordinate the collection of funds and distribution of meals and food parcels.

“As soon as we heard about this well-organised initiative, which is helping to feed the most disadvantaged in our communities, we decided to play our part too,” says Wayne Coetzer, CEO Vergelegen. “Covid-19 has been devastating for the most vulnerable in our society and it is a privilege to be able to help where we can. We will continue to donate meals until around October.

Rotarian Eppie McFarlane with Vergelegen chefs (from left) Johan Odendaal, Shanice de la Cruz and Nicolene Coetzee at Camphors restaurant

“Staff at both our restaurants – Camphors and Stables ‒ are delighted to be back at work due to the food programme (obviously under strict Covid-19 protocols). When not chopping up ingredients or stirring pots, they are helping out in our herb and vegetable garden, which is supplementing the produce from our long-standing suppliers. Those producers are also thrilled to receive steady orders again.”

Vergelegen hospitality operations manager Sue Steenkamp says: “We are focusing on providing highly nutritious, filling meals that are packed with protein, vegetables and pulses. These range from dishes like chicken breyani to hearty soups and homemade bread rolls. Single meals are packed into individual biodegradable containers for easy, eco-aware transport and serving.”

Somerset West Rotary Club president Eppie McFarlane says: “Vergelegen’s meals will be distributed from Macassar to Gordon’s Bay, and from the coast to the mountain. Target communities on a rotational basis are  Somerset West, including Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, Chris Nissen Park and Garden Village; Nomzamo and Lwandle; Macassar; and Rusthof.

“The response to the call for donations has been wonderful.  We have received numerous financial donations, non-perishable meal ingredients, and fresh produce, all of which help relieve the tremendous need out there.”

An affirming message from Vergelegen staff

For more information or to contribute, call Eppie McFarlane on 082 555 1014, or email [email protected]/[email protected]


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