Grocery Shopping in Philippolis

Last week we reported on how a determined group of volunteers from a school in the UK got stuck into a building project in the rural South African town of Philippolis (“Phili” for short).

The goal was to build a kitchen and storage room for a group of women who have been running a soup “kitchen” in the town, feeding the poor and homeless.

I ended off that story by saying: “As well as stretching their biceps, our volunteers from over the seas also had to learn how to stretch a budget.”

In addition to the building, we wanted our group of volunteers to “walk in someone else’s shoes.”

Our volunteers were split up into two teams and were given the task of food shopping for a family of four armed with only R300 (that’s about $30). That’s R300 for the month – and is an accurate estimation of the amount of money many families in Phili have to spend on food in a month.

To our surprise, the groups did extremely well, carefully planning their shopping lists. Their meticulous budgeting would have put many a finance minister to shame.

The food packages were then shared out to a number of families within the community.

Would you be able to feed your family on $30 a month?

It is amazing how resourceful we can be, and the exercise was possibly the best way for our volunteers to experience life from the point of view of this community.

Another “off-site” activity was our involvement in a 6km church fundraiser walk. A group of townspeople had organised the walk to an old farm where they set up small food stations offering traditional South African foods such as boerewors rolls, biltong and droëwors, Milktarts and Koeksisters. The walk was a lot of fun and the learners enjoyed trying all of our South African delicacies.

A highlight was our visit to the tiger rehabilitation project just outside of Philippolis. Our volunteers were able to view tigers up close and were treated to dinner and a sing-a-long by John Varty – the Tiger project founder.

Once again, to all of our volunteers, thank you for joining forces with Good Work Foundation to make the “Philippolis Soup Kitchen Project” a reality.


Shelley Lachenicht
Good Work Foundation friend, ambassador and volunteer