As the Wildlife Ranger Food Drive draws to a close, GCC looks back at the last six months and the incredible impact the initiative has had on 50 ranger families.

In April of this year, GCC, the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve, and Hoedspruit Spar joined forces to spearhead a mission to raise funds to provide food to the families of field rangers affected by the COVID-19 crisis. At that time, the tourism industry had ground to a halt and there was little or no income coming into the reserves, leaving rangers in a precarious financial position.

The GCC Wildlife Ranger Food Appeal

An appeal was launched and within 48 hours $21,000 had been collected to provide food for the rangers and their families. The initial campaign goal was set for $15,900 which meant that the extra money could support additional families from neighboring reserves.

The Results of GCC’s Wildlife Ranger Food Drive
The Results of GCC’s Wildlife Ranger Food Drive
The Results of GCC’s Wildlife Ranger Food Drive

How was the money spent?

During the following six months, over 50,000 meals, comprising of 10,000 kg of food, were delivered to 50 ranger families from the Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. “When this food drive arrived, we welcomed it warmly, especially for our families,” shares Anton Mzimba, Head of Ranger Services and GCC Technical Advisor. “Every time we were out doing deliveries, some of the families were in tears when we were supplying the food because it was a big lift for them, especially for the children, who early in the morning wanted to eat something, but that something was not there.”

The food packages were delivered once a month and provided enough food to feed seven people for four weeks. Spar, Hoedspruit provided GCC with food at reduced prices as well as donated a R5000/$300 food voucher to the campaign.

The Food Relief Packages

Each package cost R995/$53 and provided each ranger family with the following essential food items:

  • 10kg Rice
  • 10kg Maize
  • 10kg Flour
  • 10kg Protein (Chicken)
  • 1kg Pasta
  • 4 tins of beans
  • Assorted Vegetables
  • 2L Juice
  • 2L Cooking Oil
  • 100 x tea bags
  • 5kg Brown sugar
  • Soup
  • Spices
  • Bath Soap
  • 3kg Washing Powder
  • Toothpaste
  • Dishwashing soap
  • Tissues

The future is looking brighter

Thanks to this support, rangers were able to get through the toughest six months of the pandemic and continue their important work protecting the wildlife. Rangers are often separated from their families for weeks or months at a time while they are in the field, and these food packages gave them the peace of mind that their families were being provided for during the worst of the pandemic.

Tourism is slowly returning

Tourism is now slowly starting to reopen in South Africa and cash is beginning to trickle back into the tourism and associated conservation sectors. At last, life is slowly returning to somewhat normal. GCC was honored to be able to help keep the rangers in the field during the COVID-19 pandemic, so they could be where they are needed most, on the front-lines of conservation, keeping our most iconic species safe.

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