It’s a kind of magic (muffin)…

Magic Muffin bakery manager, Fiona Walker, with benefactors, Steffi and Thomas Curry of Lebenslinien e.V.

What started out as a project to address the problem of mineral undersupply in disadvantaged communities in 2007, has become a nutrition mainstay for a number of communities in the area since the Covid-19 lockdown has exposed the fault lines in government’s ability to feed the hungry.

The brainchild of Steffi and Thomas Curry, founders of  Lebenslinien e.V. – a German NGO – Magic Muffin started life in 2007 with a bakery in Kylemore, baking and supplying high protein muffins to a number of school children. Lebenslinien e.V. is solely funded by the Curry’s.

The initial muffin recipe emerged from research conducted by the SA Medical Research Council, but recently food scientist, Grant Mompel, revised the recipe to include moringa powder, a nutrient-rich plant commonly used as a natural food supplement.

“In 2017, the bakery moved to a room made available to us by the principal of Dr GJ Joubert Primary School in Strand, Martin Leukes,” says Somerset West Rotary Club member, Fiona Walker, who took over as Magic Muffin bakery manager in 2018.

“The kitchen was equipped to a professional standard with a grant from the Bavarian government,” she says.

“Since then, we have been providing fortified muffins to approximately 1 000 pre-primary school children during term weeks in the Helderberg Basin and beyond.

“Since the Covid-19 pandemic, we re-opened our bakery as soon as the schools were given the go-ahead to restart their feeding schemes. It’s thanks to Mr Leukes that we were able to get a permit to re-open the bakery, operate and distribute muffins.”

The number of personnel at the bakery is restricted to four – two bakers, a driver/bakery assistant and the bakery manager – who must all observe a strict hygiene regimen, according to Ms Walker.

“We are now baking between 6 500 and 6 700 muffins each day, which are delivered to central points in Strand, Nomzamo, Lwandle, Garden Village, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village, Grabouw, Macassar and Somerset West.

“From each of these central points, our community partners like Eagles Nest, Grabouw; Titus Educare, Strand; ACJ Phakade School, Nomzamo; Fast 11 Football Club, Lwandle; Emily’s Play Centre, Sir Lowry’s Pass Village; Siphonkosi Preprimary School, Macassar; and the Somerset West Night Shelter distribute the muffins to people in need in their communities,” says Ms Walker.

“We are deeply grateful to Rikus Neethling, owner of Bizoe Wines, who kindly donates his bakkie and the time of his driver, Elton Minnies, for delivery of the muffins.”

Magic Muffin baked 23 000 muffins in April, according to Ms Walker, and at the time of going to print, had baked and distributed over 2 169 000 muffins since inception of the programme.

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