SNAPP: Combined forces key to efforts against student hunger at UP

Posted on May 21, 2024

University of Pretoria (UP) students facing food insecurity continue to receive support from UP’s Student Nutrition and Progress Programme (SNAPP), which recently welcomed two significant boosts from sponsors.

The first, Tiger Brands, pledged continued support for UP students until 2025, in the form of regular donations of non-perishable food items to SNAPP through the company’s Plates4Days university food and nutrition programme, instigated in 2021 across South Africa.

The second sponsor, Pure Café on UP’s Hatfield Campus, launched its Soup it Forward campaign, which will provide students in need with nourishing cups of soup during the cold winter months from May to August.

SNAPP, an initiative of UP’s Department of Student Affairs (DSA), provides a basic food allowance to students from underprivileged or harsh family backgrounds who have limited financial means or no support to fall back on. Students requiring assistance must formally apply to SNAPP every academic semester.

Volunteers and interns meet twice a month at the Student Affairs offices to make food parcels based on donations received to the dedicated SNAPP food pantry. Regular donations such as Tiger Brands’ are further supplemented through once-off donations received through food drives and other on-campus initiatives.

“The financial plight of some University of Pretoria students is very real and eats into their well-being,” says SNAPP project coordinator Bhaviksha Ramouthar. “Food insecurity and hunger become seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their path towards academic excellence and eventual graduation. UP is therefore thankful to all companies and initiatives that back its Student Nutrition and Progress Programme in support of such students.”

SNAPP allows UP to put the saying “a healthy mind in a healthy body” into action. Ramouthar says research shows it is very difficult to achieve academic success without adequate access to enough food, and when people’s basic nutritional needs are not met. This is why sponsors’ and smaller donors’ help is always needed. “No contribution is ever too small. The combined force of all these efforts does not only help our students in need financially, but also emotionally.”

Pure Café’s Soup it Forward campaign will see a portion of proceeds from all soup sold during the winter months from May to August 2024 go towards sponsoring soup for students in need. Customers will also be able to make direct donations by scanning a QR code. For every R10 donated, another cup of soup will be sponsored. Soup vouchers will then be distributed to SNAPP beneficiaries, to be redeemed at Pure Café.

“The success of our programme depends on donations received, and therefore our capacity to help is unfortunately currently limited to around 350 students per month,” Ramouthar says.

Qualifying students are either provided with meal credits with which to buy one meal a day at any TuksRes food outlet (excluding public holidays and university recess periods), or with food parcels of non-perishable food items received twice a month.

Volunteers and interns meet twice a month at the Student Affairs offices to make food parcels based on donations received to the dedicated SNAPP food pantry. Regular donations such as Tiger Brands’ are further supplemented through once-off donations received through food drives and other on-campus initiatives, such as the annual RAG of Hope Day, for which the entrance fee is an item of non-perishable food. This year the event took place on 4 May at the RAG Farm on UP’s Hillcrest Campus.

Ramouthar admits that providing the necessary support to qualifying students is fraught with logistical challenges, and can be emotionally draining at times. But she adds that the effort is made all the more rewarding when students return after graduating to say thank you for the support they received during their studies.

How to get help with food insecurity

In an effort to provide relevant interim nutritional support to students, UP’s Temporary Student Council (TSC) has combined forces with SNAPP. 

“The new academic year has been particularly trying for many students waiting upon approved National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding or other bursaries to come through,” says Juan-Pierre van der Walt, interim head of Student Governance in the Division of Student Development at DSA. “We are seeing many students who are on the verge of falling through the cracks because of this lag in promised funding.

Since the start of the 2024 academic year, SNAPP has provided 84 so-called interim support food parcels to students in need who are otherwise unable to cope financially. The TSC has distributed an additional 36 food parcels through its TSC food support initiative.

Van der Walt advises students who are still waiting on funders such as NSFAS or other bursary payouts, and therefore need temporary or short-term assistance, to set up an appointment with a Temporary Student Council member to discuss possible help.

  • Students who would like to be placed on the Student Nutrition and Progress Programme (SNAPP) in the second semester must apply for UP Financial Aid through the UP Financial Aid Portal (2024 UP Bursaries and Loans) by 29 July 2024. Only qualifying students will be selected for placement on the programme. Applications normally open during the first week of every semester, and are administered through the Office of the Deputy Director of Student Affairs.
  • The programme is open to students who cannot meet their basic nutritional needs and have an annual household income below R600 000, and to those who do not have an active meal allowance, are not funded by NSFAS, or whose current funding or bursary do not cover a living or food allowance. View the UP Financial Aid guidelines document on the 2024 UP Bursaries and Loans page of the UP website here for further information on selection criteria and the necessary documentation required to apply.
  • Students who encounter challenges with submitting their 2024 UP Bursaries and Loans application can submit their enquiry via SMAX @
  • For any other queries, contact [email protected]

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