I received an email last month from Byron, my contact in South Africa, who delivers the food we help to provide for The Ebongalethu Educare Center Preschool and Nursery. They are located in Motherwell, South Africa and like the rest of the world, are dealing with the pandemic.

He let me know that the South African government had created 5 levels of lockdown and at the time of writing, they were on level 3 and only Matrics (final year schooling, grade 12) were allowed back to school under strict circumstances.

Preschools/nurseries have not been allowed to operate so it has been a difficult task to get the food to where it needs to be. However, Byron and Gladys, the amazing woman who runs The EEC, have worked together and managed to successfully and safely deliver food to ALL the little ones who attend her school so that they don’t go hungry and have nutritious meals during this time. The visits have been strictly a drop and go situation to ensure the safety of all parties involved.

I have so much admiration for Byron and Gladys and the love and commitment they have for the children they look after. Byron delivers the food as a volunteer and Gladys created this place when she saw a need in her community, sometimes taking little to no money if parents cannot afford it. I can’t imagine two people who fit the definition of hero better than them. They amaze me, inspire me, and give me hope–they remind me of what we can do if we put our minds and hearts to it.

The photo above is from a pre-pandemic food drop at The EEC–I love getting photos and look forward to receiving them in the future when things are better and safe again.


Atiliay Friday 5 | The EEC

All love and Valentine’s Day cards help to provide meals for The Ebongalethu Educare Center Preschool & Nursery–today I wanted to share with you 5 facts about who they are and how the donations work!

1) The EEC is a home-based preschool and nursery in Motherwell, South Africa. Motherwell is a large and poverty-stricken township on the outskirts of Port Elizabeth.
Atiliay Friday 5 | The EEC
2) The EEC was founded and run by an amazing woman named Gladys Zenani who I believe recently turned 70 (she is pictured in the photo above)! She created the school so that parents who need to travel far for work or to look for work have a safe place they could take their children. She has 3 ladies who help her: Fiziwe Majola, Nomfundo Minnie, and Sibongile Mpupa.
Atiliay Friday 5 | The EEC
3) Most children stay with Gladys from 5AM to 5PM. They receive breakfast and lunch at The EEC and these are the meals Atiliay is committed to providing. The meals consist of a specially formulated porridge which consists of cooked maize, soy, 26 vitamins, minerals and amino acids, carbs, fiber, and cereal fats that work to maximize nutrient intake on a daily basis. It has the nutritional density 29 times that of refined maize which is the staple diet there.
Atiliay Friday 5 | The EEC
4) I sponsor the EEC through Food4Africa whom I met in South Africa in 2007. This is how it works: I make the donation online to F4A. 100% of the donation is used to provide food for The EEC. A Food4Africa volunteer delivers the food to the school. The awesome volunteer and my contact for The EEC is Byron from Miracle Meals Trust–he is also the one who emails me photos and updates!
Atiliay Friday 5 | The EEC
5) #Cardsforacause provide between 5-10 meals each depending on the design and each workshop seat provides 20 meals. Together we have provided 140,000 meals to date–and counting!
Atiliay Cards For A Cause


Hello from The Ebongalethu Educare Center!

In the latest update I received from Byron, I learned that there’s been some happy news for our friends in South Africa–the government has given Gladys land for the Educare Center!

Since Gladys first opened The EEC, she had been running it out of her very own home–she saw a need for a safe and nurturing environment for local children to stay while their parents go to neighboring cities to work and decided to fulfill that need. You can see from previous updates and photos that her entire house became the center: one room was filled with cribs and mats for naps, there was another room with tables and chairs for classes, special events took place in the living room, the kitchen was where they had their meals, and the outside of her home was painted with colorful and fun flowers, the alphabet, and numbers. Opening her home and her heart is such a tremendous act of generosity, compassion, and kindness by Gladys. For someone who does so much for others, it’s nice to hear that she is able to have her home back and space to herself again.

The new land was not too far and they have already built a new center on it–here are some photos!

The Ebongalethu Educare Center in South Africa / Feb 2017 Update

The Ebongalethu Educare Center in South Africa / Feb 2017 Update

Both the original and new center are located within Motherwell, a town located in the Eastern Cape in South Africa. Motherwell is a part of the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. Here are some Google Earth shots so you can see where Motherwell is and where the old and new locations are for The EEC:

Motherwell, South Africa Map

Motherwell, South Africa Map

I hope you enjoyed learning more about The EEC and what has been going on over there! I also wanted to say a big thank you to all the customers and retailers who provided The EEC with meals through Atiliay’s Valentine’s Day Cards For A Cause! It is because of you that supporting Ebongalethu is possible.

I’m looking forward to sharing another update with you very soon!

How the donations work: Every other month Atiliay makes a credit card donation to Food4Africa.org that benefits The EEC. The donation covers 2 months worth of food for the center which amounts to 1 meal per day for up to 60 children–that’s 2,000 meals per month and 24,000 meals per year. 100% of all credit card donations goes directly to the program to purchase specially formulated packages of nutritious oatmeal. Byron from partnering organization, Miracle Meals Trust, delivers the packets to The EEC and checks in on how Gladys and the children are doing. Byron is also the one who sends me photos and keeps me up to date on what’s been happening there!

Learn more about The Ebongalethu Educare Center.


Byron, my contact for The Ebongalethu Educare Center Preschool & Nursery, sent me photos from last month’s porridge delivery! I hope you enjoy the photos and thank you for helping to provide these little ones with a nutritious meal!

Update from The EEC - June 2016

The kiddos checking out the packages of porridge!

Update from The EEC - June 2016

Meal time!

Update from The EEC - June 2016

This is Gladys, the amazing founder of The Ebongalethu Educare Center! She is now in her 60s and runs the entire place with the help of three wonderful ladies.

DSC_1174 (Medium)
Update from The EEC - June 2016

This lovely little girl is 3 year old Anelisa. I have been told that she is the sweetest and has the most amazing nature about her! She was born with some conditions and needs special care. Gladys and the ladies that work with her are doing the best they can with the resources they have. So far, Byron has learned from Gladys that Anelisa needs to have an operation on her palate because when she eats some of the food comes out of her nose. The entrance way to her ears are almost completely closed so she can barely hear anything. She would need to learn sign language to be able to communicate properly. Byron has been trying to get through to her doctor to see what exactly she needs to live a comfortable and healthy life. Anelisa is currently receiving therapy elsewhere and Byron is trying to find out what that entails as well to see what they can do to help. I am sending lots of positive thoughts to this wonderful child and the wonderful people who are helping her–I know she is in good hands with Gladys and Byron at The EEC.

Update from The EEC - June 2016
Live, laugh, love–great advice on this cutie’s shirt!


I received some photos and an update from The Ebongalethu Educare Center Preschool & Nursery earlier this week! The EEC is the school Atiliay sponsors through our Valentine’s Day Cards For A Cause Campaign as well as other cards and items in our shop.  With the help of our customers, we provide nutritious meals for the children here.

The EEC March 2016{Gladys, her teachers and helpers, and some of the adorable little ones in front of The EEC}

Although the drought they are experiencing is affecting the food prices, overall, everyone is doing well including Gladys (the amazing woman who runs The EEC), the teachers, the children, and my contact, Byron.

I also received news that Gladys is currently taking care of a little girl named Anelisa who was born with a disability–Byron has contacted Anelisa’s doctor to find out more about her condition and what they can do to help. Anelisa is the sweetest 3 year old and Gladys and her teachers are doing the best they can to take care of her. Anelisa’s mother, Lungelwa, is a single unemployed mother of 3 and Gladys was explaining how she gives the family a few packets of porridge each month to help. I will keep you posted as we learn more and see if there is anything we can do to help Gladys look after Anelisa. I am sending good thoughts to Anelisa and I know Gladys will give her the best care possible in a happy and safe environment.

Below are a few more photos from The EEC…

The EEC - March 20216

{From left to right: Elliot from Miracle Meals Trust (they help Food4Africa deliver porridge to The EEC and is the same organization my contact Byron is a part of), Gladys the founder of The EEC, and Gladys’ teachers and helpers with the children getting ready to to do an activity.}

The EEC - March 2016

{One of the new entrance gates at The EEC which makes it safer for the children–and Gladys’ Jack Russells (they are lying on the front step by the door :)}

The EEC - March 2016

{Here’s a better pic of the pups!}

Thank you to each person who has ever purchased a card that helped to provide meals for these little ones–they deserve a good start in life and every bowl of porridge is providing them with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive!


I’m excited to share with you recent photos from The Ebongalethu Educare Center!  For those of you who purchased and sent cards from the Valentine’s Day Cards For A Cause Campaign, this is the school you are supporting and the little ones you are providing meals for!

The EEC is located in Motherwell, South Africa (close to Port Elizabeth).  This area is stricken by poverty and many of the children who go to the center have parents or guardians who need to go to surrounding cities to work / look for work.  Although some of these boys and girls have already had a rough start in life, The EEC, run by Gladys (shown in the photo below) helps to ensure that these little ones are getting the proper nutrition, education, and care they need to continue to grow.

Your help and generosity is greatly appreciated- it makes a difference in the lives of each of these children you see, as well as their classmates who were not shown in these pics (hopefully you will meet them next time)!


PS: You can learn more about The Ebongalethu Educare Center HERE and I’ve also written about how the donation / delivery process with the meals work at the bottom of this post.

The EEC // Gladys, founder, + little ones

Some of the children standing at the front of the school with Gladys.  Some of the newer students who have not been there during a visit have never seen a camera before and are a little shy at first!  Once they get used to Cindy and the team from Miracle Meals Trust, they become little hams :)

Aphelele + Achumile + Friend

The little boy on the right is Aphelele, and he is 2 years old.  His brother, Achumile who is 4 years old also goes to The EEC.  Sadly their single mother passed away in January from cancer.  Their Grandma is caring for them now but is having a hard time.  Cindy is going to arrange to send them home with extra porridge to help, as well as clothing for the boys as they grow.  Hopefully this in addition to being at the Educare Center will help their Grandma to care for them.

Good students :)

Good students working on drawings of houses, people, and cars!

Good student working hard!


Here is Gladys, one of the caretakers who help her, and some of the little boys who go to The EEC.

Furniture delivery!

First National Bank donated lots of furniture that will be give to the different schools.  Cindy brought The EEC’s items with her during this visit– they are looking forward to having new furniture that will be put to good use!

Cindy + Gladys at The Ebongalethu Educare Center

Cindy, Gladys, and some of the little ones!  Many of them were not here during the last visit and was meeting Cindy and getting their photos taken for the first time!  Which is why they look so serious!  Cindy said usually by the second and third visit they remember her and love getting their photos snapped!


In case this is the first time you have been involved or reading about this, this is how the donation / distribution works:

Food4Africa is a non-profit I met while in South Africa who provides meals for babies and children throughout different areas in the country affected by poverty.  They created a nutritious porridge formula which they manufacture and have volunteers and partnering groups distribute.  The EEC is one of the schools Food4Africa supports which is how I came to know about and sponsor them.

Once a campaign is complete, I make a credit card donation through the Food4Africa website to get the funds to them.  This is quickest and easiest way to do it and incurs the least amount of fees. 100% of the donation goes to purchasing the porridge for the kids.

Then Cindy (she is also pictured below), who is from Miracle Meals Trust and is a partner of Food4Africa, picks up the packets of porridge and delivers it directly to the school.  Cindy is also my contact person for The EEC and is the one sending me awesome emails with photos, updates, and stories!

Hopefully that all made sense and gives you an idea of how your purchase becomes a meal and gets from here to there!

The porridge that is provided consists of cooked maize, soy, 26 vitamins, minerals and amino acids, carbohydrates, fiber, and cereal fats that work to maximize nutrient intake on a daily basis. The porridge has the nutritional density 29 times that of refined maize which is the staple diet in rural Africa.  It can easily be mixed with juice to make a yummy and healthy meal for little ones to enjoy and gobble up!