Social relief of distress food parcels

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Social relief of distress food parcels are provisions provided by governments or charitable organizations to individuals or families experiencing immediate hardship or crisis. These parcels typically contain essential food items such as grains, canned goods, cooking oil, and sometimes hygiene products. They are distributed to those who are unable to afford food due to various circumstances such as unemployment, illness, natural disasters, or other emergencies.

The purpose of social relief of distress food parcels is to ensure that vulnerable individuals and families have access to basic nutrition during times of need. Governments often implement such programs as part of their social welfare initiatives to alleviate poverty and hunger within their communities. Charitable organizations and non-profits also play a significant role in providing food assistance to those in need, often relying on donations from individuals, businesses, and government grants to fund their efforts.

In addition to providing immediate assistance, social relief of distress food parcels may also be accompanied by other forms of support such as counseling, job training, or referrals to other social services to help individuals and families address the underlying causes of their food insecurity.

SASSA will issue Social Relief of Distress (SRD) in the form of food parcels as a temporary provision of assistance intended for persons in such dire need that they are unable to meet their or their families’ most basic needs. SRD is paid to South African citizens, permanent residents or refugees who have insufficient means.  This is the criteria for those who can qualify:

  • Those receiving temporary disability grants that lapsed in March 2020;
  • Those who have had disasters in their communities such as floods and fires as defined in the Disaster Management Act, 1978;
  • If a breadwinner in the family has passed on and application is made within 12 months of date of death;
  • If everyone in a household is unemployed and needs government assistance in the form of food parcels;
  • Child headed household;
  • If you cannot work for medical reasons for a period of six months

In terms of Application process, an application for social relief of distress or a social grant may be lodged electronically over and above any other available means of lodging such applications. The measures applicable include sending a WhatsApp message to 0600 123 456 and selecting SASSA or an E-mail to

Find out how you can get the help you need, visit

Call Centre

  • SASSA call centre 0800 60 10 11
  • Call centre available working hours only
  • Link to Postbank call centre for SASSA/SAPO card related enquiries

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