Food relief vs threat to health

2020-04-21 06:00
Father’s House feeds hundreds of vulnerable people in Redhill who are struggling to get their food supplies during the nationwide lockdown.

Father’s House feeds hundreds of vulnerable people in Redhill who are struggling to get their food supplies during the nationwide lockdown.

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With many of Cape Town’s most vulnerable communities being hard hit by the lockdown, the City of Cape Town, various non-profit and non-governmental organisations (NPOs and NGOs), and concerned individuals have rallied together to provide food for those in need.

But the issue of adhering to social distancing while providing critical food resources to residents on the Cape Flats and other under-resourced communities remains a threat to public health as Covid-19 continues to spread.

In a previous interview with People’s Post, the founder of the Lavender Hill community upliftment initiative Guardians of the National Treasure, Ralph Bouwers, said they would be doing their part to feed hungry tummies – as responsibly as possible.

“I’ll get an aunty to come from one street and we can give her the food to give to everybody else in the street,” he said, explaining how they would be attempting to keep contact to a minimum.

Over in Simon’s Town, Father’s House – a Christian faith organisation that works with the poor, the vulnerable and homeless people – has attempted to make adjustments to their usual protocol when feeding the needy.

“My family and I have been working with poor communities for about 20 years. When lockdown started, we continued feeding homeless in Jubilee Square – that was 65 people,” says the organisation’s pastor, Shadrick Valayadum.

Once homeless people were transported to Strandfontein Sports Grounds, the subcouncil 19 proportional representation (PR) councillor Patricia Franke reached out to Father’s House to feed the communities in Redhill and, later, Ocean View.

“I went on the soil and I drew a line and told them to each stand at a distance. And it lasted for a whole five minutes,” he says, sharing his experience in Redhill.

When it comes to enforcing social distancing, he says, it is more than just a challenge.

“We’re feeding kids who are two or three years old, so it’s impossible to maintain social distancing. But when we get there, we have our gloves and sanitisers and keep things as hygienic as possible.”

At their first outreach in Redhill, on Tuesday 14 April, they catered a hot meal – spaghetti bolognese – to 275 people; and will continue to do so for the duration of the pandemic.

On the same day in Lavender Hill, mayor Dan Plato came to the aid of several organisations, providing them with several items to assist them to continue feeding the vulnerable.

He donated a three-plate gas burner, two large cooking pots (100F and 80F) and dry ingredients such as lentils, samp, and beans, and more, from the Mayoral Fund.

According to a City statement, NGOs based in Grassy Park, Atlantis, Mamre, Lotus River, Marikana informal settlement and Lavender Hill received these items.

The statement continues: “In Grassy Park, NGO, Voice of the Voiceless, run by Howard Downes, currently feeds more than 300 people daily, but with today’s donations and with the extra equipment, it will now be able to almost double this number.

In Lavender Hill, Philisa Abafazi Bethu, run by Lucinda Evans, feeds 1500 residents daily and can now boost this number by an additional 800.”

He told People’s Post that these organisations adhere to proper hygiene standards and wear personal protective equipment (PPE).

“During my visit to Lavender Hill, children lined up in rows with sufficient space between each other to ensure correct social distancing.

“We have communicated through various platforms to share this message and repeat our call to communities to practice social distancing as it is in their best interests to help limit the spread of Covid-19.”

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