South African Grocery Delivery Service Doubles Capacity to Serve Communities thanks to a Unique ‘Pay-it-Forward’ Donation

  • Scheinberg Relief Fund helps online retailer Yebo Fresh increase its distribution capacity
  • Disadvantaged communities in Cape townships benefit from a donation made to online retailer Yebo Fresh

Attracting international interest, the disruptor Cape Town retail food provider Yebo Fresh is now able to provide food security to even more township residents suffering as a result of the lockdown caused by COVID-19.

The Scheinberg Relief Fund, a $50M philanthropic fund established by Israeli-Canadian businessman Mark Scheinberg, recently made a ‘pay-it-forward’ contribution of R2 million to Yebo Fresh for the purpose of distributing quality food to disadvantaged communities during the national lockdown.

The Scheinberg Relief Fund was established by Mark Scheinberg and his family in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, to support organizations and initiatives that are tackling the direct impact of the virus on vulnerable people and the communities they reside in. In South Africa, the Fund’s donations have gone a long way in combating hunger during the lockdown.

Formed in 2018, Yebo Fresh is a grocery shopping service startup with a mission to bring affordable quality food to South African townships. For over 30 million South Africans, many of whom reside in townships and informal settlements, the monthly grocery shopping endeavour is a strenuous and costly undertaking, and is a physically demanding and often dangerous activity.  Yebo Fresh solves this by going straight to the root of the problem.

Yebo Fresh delivers quality products at reasonable prices, directly to the customer in areas underserved by formal food retailers. It has a unique business model which specialises in operating in South African townships. And because of their ability (and experience) in this regard, the company has a unique understanding of how to distribute food to these sorts of areas, which is what proved to be attractive to the Scheinberg Fund.

Food security during the national lockdown has been a great concern for everyone. Since the start of the COVID19 Pandemic, the Yebo Fresh shopping platform has become the go-to place for large and small charities, community action networks and other organisations looking for a safe and reliable way to distribute large quantities of food parcels into the townships.

The Scheinberg Relief Fund contribution has enabled the online retailer to expand its services to more townships with the acquisition of a larger warehousing facility with more than five times the combined space of the previous two. The donation also assisted the startup to source the equipment required to scale up fast, including adding recyclable food crates, roller cages, pallets, desks, laptops and other items.

This was stretched even further, allowing Yebo Fresh to implement a number of structural improvements that have enhanced operational efficiency and safety such as a 12 meter refrigeration unit, a barcode scanning system and a more efficient sanitising process.

The retailer also increased its capacity from 400 to 1000 food parcels (the equivalent of 120 000 meals per day) with plans to further increase this to 2000 packs a day and to recruit an additional 20 packing staff. All newly created jobs arising from the investment will be prioritised for people who had no direct income before the pandemic.

The unique agreement between Yebo Fresh and the Scheinberg Relief Fund has another special angle: as soon as Yebo Fresh hits agreed financial performance indicators, the donation shall be ‘paid forward’ to local communities through additional distribution of food parcels.

“When we started talking to the Scheinberg Relief Fund,” explains Yebo Fresh founder, Jessica Boonstra, “we were operating from two small warehouses and were struggling to prepare 400 parcels a day. We are now at four to five times that volume and still growing week on week.”

“We are privileged to receive this donation and we are honoured to be able to use it towards helping our communities during this incredibly difficult time. Our purpose has always been to create access to affordable quality food to underserved communities, and we are pleased to be able to do this at a much greater scale, especially at the moment when access to food has become a very real problem for many people”, added Boonstra.

Mark Scheinberg, on behalf of the Scheinberg Relief Fund, said: “We’re extremely proud to have made this innovative ‘pay-it-forward’ contribution to Yebo Fresh, to enable them to scale their operations and empower them to deliver significantly more affordable, quality food to South African townships during this pandemic.”

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