Food drive assists struggling soup kitchen

2018-09-19 06:00
The owners of the 'Roof Garden Bar' who started the food drive initiative together with the founder of the soup kitchen. From left are Tarquin de Vega, Ntomboluntu Thandai and Augustine Martin.                                            Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

The owners of the 'Roof Garden Bar' who started the food drive initiative together with the founder of the soup kitchen. From left are Tarquin de Vega, Ntomboluntu Thandai and Augustine Martin. Photo:KAILIN DANIELS

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A FOOD collection drive in Central has been initiated by two young entrepreneurs, to help a struggling soup kitchen provide food for the less-fortunate.

The owners of The Grand and Roof Garden Bar, Tarquin de Vega and Augustine Martin, have given their loyal patrons more reason to attend the upcoming afterwork drinks event.

The event, which is meant to be a space to enjoy good music and a great atmosphere after a long day at work, will also be a food collection drive for Ntombi’s Kids Charity Soup Kitchen.

“We have always wanted to reach out and assist where we can,” Martin said.

“We thought that it would be a great opportunity to pair that with a charity.

“We met Ntombi via a good friend and she introduced us to the initiative she is running,” Martin said.

The desire to give back to the Port Elizabeth community was the driving force behind the decision of the two businessmen to use the monthly event as a food drive for the soup kitchen.

“The food drive will take place until October 5, which will be the handover period to Ntombi’s soup kitchen.

“However, it will not stop there. We will continue with the initiative and use the afterwork drinks to generate more,” De Vega said.

The soup kitchen was started by Ntomboluntu (Ntombi) Thandai who saw the need for helping the less-fortunate in her community.

“I had a dream of making a difference in someone’s life by sharing from what I have and giving to the poor,” Thandai said.

“A family used to come to my church and they were so poor. We used to cook for them every Sunday. I said to my family that I must do something to help them and others. At first, I cooked for them and 20 children. That’s how it all started,” Thandai said.

The soup kitchen is currently catering for more than 100 children and adults.

Thandai relies on the assistance of her sister in running the initiative.

She also adds that she would like to cook every day if possible, but does not have the necessary funds to do so.

“Everyday more and more people show up and some of them even come on weekends. I can’t chase them away. Even though I don’t cook on weekends, I always provide food to those who show up. I cook on a Monday, Wednesday and Friday. However, I cook everyday for 10 special families.

“They are the poorest of poor. More and more people come to the soup kitchen everyday and I don’t have money to provide food for everyone,” Thandai added.

Growing up without daily food on the table, Thandai knows the suffering and always tries to lend a helping hand.

“I know how it feels to go to bed without eating anything. I used to go three days without food. I know that pain.

“I grew up very poor. It’s fine if you don’t eat anything in the morning and during the afternoon, but believe me, you can’t sleep at night without eating. Tears start to roll down your face, not because of hunger, but because of your situation.”

Thandai showed the utmost gratitude towards Martin and De Vega for their assistance in helping her to achieve her dream.

“I wanted to do something special for one person and I told myself that it is not enough. I have to do more to help others as well.

“That is what I’m trying to achieve and thanks to Tarquin and Augustine, I will be able to help more people.”

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