Full tummies for patients

2016-06-21 06:00

She hands out food to sick patients every week and does it because she was “called to do so”.

Freda Arends takes up her position at the Lotus River Hospital in Anita Road every week to provide sandwiches “with nice fillings because I enjoy something nice on my bread too”.

And to laud her efforts and selfless acts of philanthropism, Arends was awarded a Civic Recognition Award on Tuesday 14 June.

“It all started during 2007 when my husband fell sick and I went to the hospital with him and saw people sitting there all day without food. I woke up one morning and a voice came very clearly to me that said ‘go feed my people’,” Arends says.

The God-fearing woman says she listened to the voice that came to her and decided to start making sandwiches for people at the hospital on days that her husband didn’t even have an appointment.

“When I started with this initiative, I asked the hospital staff if I may hand out the sandwiches I made of two loaves of bread. They gave me the go-ahead and since then I have been feeding patients at the hospital on a weekly basis. For a while I even served tea and coffee at the hospital but that did not go too well as it wasn’t sustainable. Instead I made big pots of soup for the patients,” she says.

Since then, Arends has become an all too familiar face at the hospital.

“On some days I just felt like I didn’t know where the bread would come from. There was a day where I felt so lost and didn't know if there would be bread for the next day to serve at the hospital. Later that day a boy came up to me at home with two bags in his hands and asked me where he could find miss Arends, and I told him he was looking at her,” she recalls.

“In the bags were four loaves of bread with margarine and pilchards. He told me his dad sent him with the goods to give to me. I was so relieved,” she says.

She recalls another incident, when she returned from hospital one day and her husband told her somebody was in the yard earlier.

“I went outside to inspect and on my doorstep found a box with ten loaves of bread. To this day I still have no idea who put that bread down there, but I am so grateful to be doing this for the patients at the hospital,” she says.

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