Going homeless to help others

2018-11-20 06:00
Danny Diliberto.

Danny Diliberto.

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What do you do when you’re living on the streets, with no money, cellphone or help? Well, local soup kitchen founder Danny Diliberto will be turning the experience into a documentary to raise awareness about homelessness.

On Thursday 29 November, Diliberto, who runs the Ladles of Love soup kitchen, will spend 48 hours living on the streets of Cape Town. Ladles of Love will be creating a short documentary-style video about the experience.

Diliberto says the idea came up when members of the organisation were brainstorming fundraising ideas and looking for ways to bring homelessness to the attention of the public in an effort to improve the lives of those living on the street.

“The purpose of the challenge is simple: To change the narrative on homelessness and get the conversation about the issues started. Let’s ask ourselves why this is happening in our society and, perhaps more importantly, how each of us can make a difference,” the organisation says in a statement.

“There are so many things that we take for granted – a safe place to sleep, a hot dinner, a place to wash, bathroom access and healthcare being just a few.”

Diliberto will be experiencing some of these challenges first-hand, but also talking to people for whom these issues are part of everyday life.

He will start his time on the streets by earning a stipend for street sweeping with Straatwerk, an organisation that offers job opportunities to street people. He will then attempt to get a bed at The Haven night shelter, where he will speak to staff at the shelter and street people about the lack of resources available for the homeless.

Diliberto will spend his second day working with Streetscape, in their gardening project, before visiting the City of Cape Town’s Safe Space, which provides an alternative to shelter accommodation for street people. He plans to spend the night sleeping on the street with one of the street people who works with him. Diliberto will finish off the campaign at the Ladles of Love soup kitchen at the Carpenter’s Shop.

Diliberto aims to raise R40 000 for Ladles of Love, which will provide around 4000 meals. Donations can be made via Back-a-Buddy.

Ladles of Love has been serving the homeless community for over four years now, providing a hot, tasty and healthy meal in three locations each week. As a result of this, Diliberto has become more and more aware of the issues the homeless community faces on a daily basis.

Diliberto hopes the documentary will show that there is no simple solution to homelessness. “There are people saying: ‘Don’t be homeless’. It doesn’t work like that. [Street people] need counselling and rehabilitation. It’s not that simple.”

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