Back to the streets for food

2015-06-16 06:01
John Peter dishes out food daily for homeless people in Salt River.

John Peter dishes out food daily for homeless people in Salt River. . PHOTO: TIYESE JERANJI

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John Peter says being on the street for two years was such a privilege and an eye opener for him. Now he sees homeless people in a different light.

Peter says there was a time that everything in his life came tumbling down and he was left with absolutely nothing. He had to stay on the street.

Sleeping close to the Cape Town train station was dangerous. With the help of an organisation he managed to pick up the pieces

Now he is running a soup kitchen in Shelley Street in Salt River. The kitchen feeds more than 30 people from different ­areas every day. It helps the Salt River community as well.

Peter alternates breakfast and lunch, but his wish is to be able to give both meals in every day.

Peter is passionate about children. He says he doesn’t want to see any child go hungry, so he is working hard to make sure that those kids that need to be are fed.

Being on the streets made him care for other people more.

“I know how it feels to be on the streets and not have food. I know what it is like to go hungry for days with nothing to eat or no-one to turn to. God helped me to survive all that, as well as the harsh weather conditions. All those days on an empty stomach taught me a lot, so I’m doing my bit to help other people as well,” he says.

With winter here his wish is to open the soup kitchen as early as 06:00 so that he can help the needy with a cup of coffee as early as possible.

“It’s difficult to be on the street. You get cold to the bone. So I want to open early and help those that sleep outside in the rain to have something to warm them up. Having to wait till 10:00 when you spent the whole night shivering in the cold is not easy, so the least that I can do is to try and open early,” says Peter.

One recipient, Abraham Lewis, says the meals are very helpful.

“They give us hope to look forward to every day. Knowing that someone will give us something to eat is very touching and it makes us feel cared for. When I come to town I know where to eat; I don’t have to stress about anything,” says Lewis.

Another recipient, Lobo Masimini, says it’s difficult to get food all the time and the soup kitchen has become their only hope.

“This has become our home. They save us nice warm food which is nicely cooked. He is really helping us a lot. He treats us like family; we don’t feel any less. That’s why we keep coming back here because we know we will be received with warm hands,” says Masimini.

Those who want to help with food, clothes or blankets can call Peter on 071 377 6791 or drop it at Youth Solutions at 9 Shelley Road in Salt River

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