Feeding hungry children

2018-02-20 06:00
Doreen Hendricks (81).PHOTO: Samantha lee

Doreen Hendricks (81).PHOTO: Samantha lee

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For more than 20 years she has fed those in need and although already in her 80s, she has no plans to stop anytime soon.

Aside from all her other community projects, Doreen Hendricks (81) from Eastridge is looking to expand her feeding scheme that caters to around 20 children in her street.

She started the feeding scheme in her 60s but took a break and recently started again.

“I started this in my 60s but stopped because of my nursing school. I kept feeding in between. I always bought crates of bread and gave it out to the people,” she says.

“I use my pension to do the feeding scheme. When it is winter I give soup and when it is nice days I make food. I run this two days a week and also have an aftercare here,” she says.

“What made me do this was looking out there and seeing how the children suffer. I am a very passionate person where children are concerned and I love to help where I can and give where I can.”

Her big heart and passion for children made sure that her break did not last long and she recently started the feeding scheme again.

Because she only uses her pension, the number of children she is able to feed is limited.

“There are about 17 to 20 children that I feed in the street but I always tell them to go call their friends and other children when I dish so that they can also fetch food,” she says.

I would like to feed more children and sometimes I give to the adults as well. I cannot see a child go hungry. I did a scheme for a long time and I stopped for a while but decided to do this again because the children are going hungry.”

There is a big need in the community, Hendricks says.

“Last year, I asked the children to contribute R5 per week to help grow the scheme and their parents couldn’t even manage that so there is a big need,” she says.

Having the children with her for extended periods of time, Hendricks says she saw a lack in manners and addresses it.

“The children are not disciplined. The way they speak to their parents is not on, so when they are here I make sure to teach them discipline as well. I teach them how to speak, how to speak to their parents and not to demand money from them or be rude,” she says.

She also started a Sunday School where she teaches the children Bible study on Sundays.

She also walks the streets in the morning to ensure the children go to school. 

“I get up early in the morning, I put on my gown and go around to the houses. If they are not awake, I knock on the doors to get them up for school. Last year, children did not want to go to school. There was a 10-year-old girl that did not want to go to school and stayed out for 65 days. When I took her under my wing and spoke to her, she went back just before school closed and she passed. The children love school now,” says Hendricks.

Her passion stems from her love for children and will often give her last to feed the children.

“I use my pension money but I need a donation from businesses or the community to help feed the children,” she says.
Using a one-plate burner with small pots, Hendricks says it is challenging to sometimes feed the children, but she continues out of love.
“There are a lot of people and children who need food and the donations I need are mostly groceries, meat and clothing. The clothing I get, I sell and accumulate more money to go towards the feeding scheme.”

She likes to give the children a good meal that will fill their tummies­.

“I am a health-conscious person. I like to give the children food with vegetables. I do my utmost best with what I have,” she says.

“I may be old but I am very fresh in my mind. I only do the things that the Lord wants me to do. This keeps me young. I am a child of the Lord and all I am doing is through the grace of the Lord. I have a very big passion for people­.”

She is calling on all who can assist to help her in her mission to feed as many people as possible bus says she will continue feeding the children, as long as she is alive.

“The children are very hungry. There are children who go to school hungry, and I am always here to feed them.”

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