Joy at annual lunch

2017-12-19 06:00
It was all joy as residents were treated to a full meal in Kensigton on Sunday 10 December. From left are Anna Swarts and Eliza Frans, Michael Naidoo and Kleo Isaks.PHOTO: NOMZAMO YUKU

It was all joy as residents were treated to a full meal in Kensigton on Sunday 10 December. From left are Anna Swarts and Eliza Frans, Michael Naidoo and Kleo Isaks.PHOTO: NOMZAMO YUKU

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A local church treated 6th Avenue informal settlement residents to a warm meal at an annual lunch event held in 9th Street in Kensington on Sunday.

The event was organised by the Restored Foundation Pentecostal Church based in Maitland.

Hundreds of residents, including those from the Graveyard squatter camp in Maitland, showed their appreciation and praised and danced with the congregants as they were being served.

Joy was written all over their faces, with most of them saying it was good to see that despite the negativity surrounding the squatter camp, there were people who want to make a difference in their lives and who care about them.

Most of the families living in the area are reportedly unemployed, with some working as domestic workers to put bread on the table.

They say that especially at this time of year, the reality of their lives strikes their minds, as they cannot afford to provide their children with the nice things other children in the surrounding households receive, and they struggle to buy any kind of gifts.

Elizabeth Spanneberg attended the lunch with her son and said she wanted to make sure that her son also enjoyed a full meal.

She said: “It is difficult when, as a parent, you cannot provide little things like Christmas gifts or a hot meal for your child. I told my son to enjoy this day and keep it in mind that even though I cannot give him the best on the 25th, there was at least someone who put a smile on his face. Life is difficult for us here and we are thankful to this church for not discriminating against us and for feeding everyone.”

Carlos Lewis (14) from 6th Avenue said she was happy about the lunch and grateful to the church for remembering them.

Sibulele Williams (12) from Graveyard got emotional as he expressed his ­gratitude.

He said he has been wishing to also have a nice full meal served with love and to eat it without worrying about tomorrow. He said life is difficult at home but he would not explain further.

He uttered in tears: “Thank you for the food, thank you so much, this is a special day for me.”

The founder of the church, Elize Frans, said that four years ago, after realising the harsh conditions in which people are living in the informal settlements, she and her husband, with the help of the congregation, took it upon themselves to raise funds throughout the year to host an annual lunch in the second week of December to make everyone feel the spirit of Christmas.

She thanked the congregants, sponsor and friends who supported them to make this year’s lunch a success.

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