On 28 November last year, Thari Mmelegi Feeding Centre in Monnakato, Rustenburg, officially opened its doors as ‘The Bill and Linda Gallagher Centre of Hope’. The morning kicked off with a Prayer by Rev. Thwala, followed by a speech and official opening of the feeding scheme by the President of the South African Chefs Association – Mr Stephen Billingham. Thabile Zulu from Nedbank congratulated all those involved in the project as a great achievement.

The feeding centre has been named ‘The Bill and Linda Gallagher Centre of Hope’, in honour of the late Dr Bill Gallagher, and his wife Linda. Dr. Gallagher was one of South Africa’s iconic figures in the Food and Beverage industry. He was a chef, mentor, industry icon, author and humanitarian and his experience spanned over four decades at the highest level.

Thari Mmelegi Orphanage is an organisation that caters for orphans and needy children from the Monnakato Township, outside of Rustenburg. The rate of orphans and vulnerable children in this area is extremely high as many
parents in this community fall victim to AIDS. All of these children, no matter what their circumstance, are hungry and desperate. The orphanage feeds and cares for these children, and provides a safe, loving environment for every child who visits here.

Nicholas Froneman – Executive Chef of The Palace at Sun City and also a Director of the South African Chefs Association, saw a need to assist Thari Mmelegi, and later that year, he started The Building Fund.

In Phase 1 of the Building Project, a secure wall was built around the property, which was completed in November 2013. In November 2015, phase 2 of the building project began, with the building of the Feeding Centre. Local building contractors from the surrounding communities were procured to build the wall and the feeding centre.
What was once an open-sided shelter, constructed of poles and a tin roof, where the children ate outside, has now become a proper feeding centre that will be able to support more children from the community. Facilities now include a full kitchen, dining hall, library, sick bay, and overnight facility.

Mark and Ian Gallagher, Dr Bill and Linda Gallagher’s Sons, said, “We would like to express our thanks to everyone who contributed to making the centre a reality. These projects always require immense sacrifices from all involved to turn them from ideas into reality. The end result looks amazing and we are sure it will change the lives of many for years to come. Working with children had a special place in our father’s heart and we are sure he would feel a great happiness knowing the World Chefs Tour Against Hunger was able to support such projects. If they were with us today, we know both Bill and Linda would be extremely humbled by the honour you have bestowed on them. As their sons it brings us an incredible sense of pride and peace, showing yet again the impact their lives had on others. For this we express our heartfelt gratitude and wish the centre all the success going forward”.

We wish to thank the following benefactors  for their financial contributions and continued support over the past four years. These benefactors include Sun International Sun City CSI Fund who contributed R 315,000 and Nedbank who contributed R 250,000. We would collectively like to thank the following organisations contributed R 208,411 -Prestige Cleaning (R40,000), Fruit Spot (R 15,000), Chaine de Rotisseurs Baillage de Pretoria (R 38,000), Thermomix SA (R 20,650), Thermomix AUS (R 26,204), and The South African Chefs Associations Academy of Chefs (R 68,587), and Platinum Bikers for assisting in purchasing the land under the name of Thari Mmelegi Orphanage.

A special thank you to Sun Internationals’, Sun City CSI Team and Sun City Management and staff, who have supported Nicholas Froneman in this amazing endeavour, especially to Siphiwe Buthelezi – Sun City Resort CSI Manager, and his CSI Team, who helped to secure the final funding from Nedbank, required to complete this building project. Although the feeding centre will make a massive different to the children of Monakato Township, it will no doubt help to uplift the community as a whole too.

Special guests included Member of Mayoral Committee for Special Projects in Rustenburg, Mr. John Malubi, Ward Councillor Mr. Patrick Tlhapi, and Mr. Mpho Molongoana from Platinum Bikers, Thabile Zulu from Nedbank, Ronel Bezuidenhout Managing Director of Capital Hotel School and previous Bailli of Chaine des Rotisseurs Baillage de Pretoria, Philippe Frydman from SA Chefs Academy of Chefs, Kabelo Segone – Vice President of SA Chefs, and Alice Piktija – owner of Port-a-Kitchen/Thermomix SA.