Restaurant still serves the community

The wine tasting room at Durbanville Hills is being used to sort and package food parcels

Durbanville Hills has partnered with SA Harvest and MES (Mould Empower Serve) to help distribute food parcels to those in need.

The winery, which includes a restaurant, function halls and wine tasting facilities, has been closed to the public during the national lockdown but decided to offer the use of their staff and premises to the organisations. 

“The lockdown has had an enormous impact on practically every industry in the country and NPOs have been struggling to provide food for the thousands of people who have absolutely no income and no food,” said Dirk Steyn, Durbanville Hills’ restaurant general manager.

“By offering our resources and premises as a distribution point to SA Harvest and MES, they can now reach the communities within a 10km radius of the winery which up until now was logistically not possible.”

With the help of Durbanville Hills, more areas within Durbanville can now be reached along with Dunoon, Mamre, Bothasig and Tableview.

Mr Steyn said the partnership is only the start of things to come as new organisations are also being approached to assist. 

“We are moving into winter and the need is escalating. The more organisations we can get on board, the better we’ll be able to assist the community during this difficult time. The need is not only for food, but also for blankets and clothing.”

Leona Pienaar, chief executive of MES, said since the start of the lockdown, a number of volunteers, individual and corporate donors, churches and provincial government departments, have all come together to support the homeless. 

“Our existing overnight shelters were turned into lockdown shelters, and where clients would normally pay a small fee of R20 for a hot shower and warm bed for the night, we waived the fee and added a warm meal to the service. The Cape Town shelter reached full capacity with a waiting list of over 300 people before end March.”

Ms Pienaar said since lockdown, MES has provided shelter for 297 people while they have also distributed over 3 000 food parcels and severed 148 000 meals.   

SA Harvest, which collects surplus food from various sources and donates them to non-profit organisations in Cape Town and Johannesburg, has also contributed to feeding 6 000 people daily and preparing 100 000 meals prepared a week. 

Ozzy Nel, national operations manager of SA Harvest, said the organisation sources food from suppliers such as farmers and micro farmers, food producers, restaurants, retailers, airlines, events coordinators and community builders.

Mr Steyn said Durbanville Hills restaurant staff, who have not worked since the start of lockdown, will be available to assist with the distribution of food parcels.  

The tasting area at the cellar is currently being used for this project and has been sanitised with a series of stringent health and safety protocols put in place in accordance to the Government’s regulatory COVID-19 requirements. These include staff adhering to social distancing, complying with sanitation requirements and everyone wearing protective clothing.”

Albert Gerber, managing director of Durbanville Hills Wines, stressed that the staff members assisting with the initiative will be properly protected and that staff safety is a priority. 

Mr Gerber said: “Durbanville employs 47 staff members. Our employees first and foremost, are members of society – and no one has been spared the wrath of Covid-19. Our winemaking team continues to do a fantastic job to ensure we get the 2020 harvest safely in the bottle, but we had to split them into two shifts to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.”