Kid’s food challenge has adults eating out of the palm of her ...

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Kid’s food challenge has adults eating out of the palm of her hand

Hannah was worried about the plight of waste pickers in her area, so she did something about it

Journalist
Hannah Terbrugge,12, waived presents for her birthday and asked people to instead donate loaves of bread for the 247 waste pickers in her area.
On her mind 24/7 Hannah Terbrugge,12, waived presents for her birthday and asked people to instead donate loaves of bread for the 247 waste pickers in her area.
Image: Supplied

Hundreds of loaves of bread lay symmetrically stacked on the Terbrugge dining-room table. The same table just days earlier hosted a cake with 12 candles for Hannah, who celebrated her 12th birthday. Now the teen is packing food parcels for waste pickers in her area.

Before the lockdown, Hannah, who lives near the Field Market in Parkmore, Sandton, used to go to the park with her family. There she discovered the group of men and women who lived along the Braamfontein Spruit.

When the lockdown was announced, the Pirates Sports Club in Greenside posted a shopping list they said they’d be collecting for underprivileged people. Several lockdown Terbrugge dinnertime conversations weighed heavy on Hannah’s heart, and she decided to play her part.

Hannah Terbrugge used her birthday money to buy items to fill a shopping bag for the waste pickers who live along the Braamfontein Spruit in Parkmore, Sandton.
A BIG HEART THAT KEEPS GROWING Hannah Terbrugge used her birthday money to buy items to fill a shopping bag for the waste pickers who live along the Braamfontein Spruit in Parkmore, Sandton.
Image: Supplied

“I thought, what if I did something to help people who were hungry? I wanted to create a challenge to help the people closest to me,” Hannah said.

Her mom, pottery teacher Bronwen, said they spoke about the idea and Hannah suggested helping the waste pickers in their area.

After a virtual birthday party with friends and family, Hannah announced her challenge. That evening she posted a list with 13 items, including tea bags, maize meal, tinned fish, bread, oil, sugar, soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush, on the Parkmore community Facebook group. The goal was to collect enough items on her list to make up 247 food parcels; this meant a shopping bag for each waste picker. The first bag, which she bought using her birthday money, cost her just more than R230.

“I challenged my family and friends to do the same,” Hannah said.

Hannah and her 9-year-old brother Ben pose next to the food parcels they collected for the waste pickers in their area.
WELL-BREAD Hannah and her 9-year-old brother Ben pose next to the food parcels they collected for the waste pickers in their area.
Image: Supplied

On Freedom Day, donning a blue cloth mask, Hannah set up a collection table outside the park where residents could drop off the food parcels. She’d planned to be there between 10am and 1pm. They did drive-by dropoffs to adhere to social distancing protocols. 

That evening, Hannah, her mom and granny spent hours packing each bag, and the next morning set out to distribute them.

“It felt really good. They were so grateful. I felt happy that I knew that at least they would be fed for a week,” Hannah said.

Seeing the success of her first challenge, in which she managed to raise food to the value of R68,000 from just her friends and community members, she is already thinking about the next dropoff. Next on the her list is fresh fruit and vegetables.