Pick n Pay honoured with humanitarian award for its role in feeding the nation during the pandemic
Pick n Pay has received the 2020 Mbokodo Humanitarian Award that celebrates the outstanding role of businesses and their leaders in creating a platform for a progressive and cohesive nation.
Pick n Pay’s transformation director, Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, was also specifically recognised for her role in leading the company to develop an initiative that would support millions of South Africans left most vulnerable during lockdown.
Now in its ninth year, the Mbokodo Awards aims to recognise the work that corporates, and especially women of our country, have done, often against insurmountable challenges. The annual celebration pays tribute to the major contribution that women of Africa make to the Arts and Cultural environment. In a year that the world was restricted within their borders, art played a pivotal role in connecting South Africans to each other and the world. Another quality that connected people this year, was the ability to care for each other. This makes the Humanitarian Award quite significant this year as many lost their livelihoods.
“The corporate social investment (CSI) work Pick n Pay Group has done at all times has been inspiring, and the pandemic truly served to shine the spotlight on why we need leadership with heart as the Covid19 pandemic showed the extent of income disparities in our society,” says Mbokodo Awards 2020 host, Zanele Morrison.
Pick n Pay launched its Feed the Nation campaign in April which grew at such scale and magnitude to see it register as a NPO, the Feed the Nation Foundation, in June 2020. Over the past eight months over 23 million meals have been distributed to a range of vulnerable communities, which included the support of more than 4,000 child-headed households.
Ackerman-Berman accepted the award with a reference point to the ‘Art of Giving’. “During lockdown we have learnt to give love and of our time to one another. We have also learnt to give more understanding to the issues concerning our society, and I encourage us all to never forget the art of giving.”
She adds that Pick n Pay has always believed that doing good is good business. “For over half a decade we have served communities surrounding our stores through short and longer-term initiatives to lead socio-economic transformation in the country. This includes developing small suppliers, providing food donations to the value of over R70 million every year to various charities, our interventions in humanitarian crises, and supporting tomorrow’s leaders through the Pick n Pay School Club by making available much-needed educational resources, to name just a few.”
When the country went into hard lockdown, she says it quickly became apparent more needed to be done as school feeding schemes closed and many lost their jobs. “Feed the Nation started as a way for us and our customers to support those left most vulnerable. Pick n Pay executives donated parts of their salaries and our customers donated food and cash at till points.
“Thanks to our established network and efficient supply chain, we could support welfare organisations and charities to further increase their reach. Our partnerships quickly grew and our Pick n Pay and Boxer Superstores staff worked alongside amazing organisations to pack and distribute food parcels to some of the most remote and rural parts of South Africa,” says Ackerman-Berman.
“We commend Pick n Pay for your gallant leadership and the innovative ways you inspired your customers to work with you to make a difference,” says Carol Bouwer at the Mbokodo Awards.