NAIROBI – Food on the Way, a program initiated by a Chinese expatriate in Kenya, has been sending the most-needed food to children and low-come families in Kenya where the exacerbating COVID-19 pandemic is making the food supply a big problem for many urban city dwellers.
Zhao Min, who has been living in Nairobi for 8 years, initiated the program last month with the idea of doing something for the locals who are suffering from unemployment and hunger due to the pandemic. Her goal is to call for more people to join her “helping 10 people for 10 U.S. dollars at a time.”
“Every time you go to a supermarket, you can spend an extra 10 dollars to buy 10 more bags of bread. Or you can cook something and do what you can,” said Zhao, who distributed 30 bread to a number of needy people in front of the Nairobi Jaffery Sports Club on Friday.
“If 10 people participate in Food on the Way every day, that means at least 100 poor people can feed themselves every day,” she said.
In just a few days, Zhao received 22,958 yuan (3,280 U.S. dollars) from 77 people from 12 countries, as well as food, masks and other supplies. The donors include not only overseas Chinese from Kenya and other African countries, but also people from China, Australia and Canada. She bought more than 600 food packages for the school children, enough for them to feed themselves for a whole week.
Yang Chi, principal of Erdemann Chinese Full-Time School, is one of the donors. He raised more than 80,000 shillings (755 U.S. dollars) through an online talent show on the International Children’s Day on Monday. He bought 144 packages of cornflour, 100 packages of wheat flour, 50 packages of sliced bread and 20 liters of cooking oil and donated them to the Kenya SOS Children’s Villages and Mcedo-Beijing School on Tuesday.
As of Saturday, Kenya had 2,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with the Kibera and Mathare slums among the hardest-hit areas.
Since the Food on the Way initiative was launched, more and more people have joined the relay of love. In Yang’s eyes, this initiative is simple and meaningful, starting from trivial matters at the grassroots level, melting the estrangement of indifference, and leaving warmth to each other in this difficult time.
“Small acts of kindness add up to great power,” said Zhao, adding that she would stick to it and hoped more people would join her efforts.