Following a positive response to their gesture in July, a local restaurant decided to join hands with the U-Turn Homeless Ministry, a non-profit organisation based in Kenilworth.As part of their new relationship, the restaurant and the organisation celebrated World Homelessness Day on Wednesday 10 October by serving meals to over 50 homeless individuals. The restaurant made an effort to cater for all those at U-Turn’s drop-in service centre behind Stadium-on-Main in Claremont. Thinus Ras, the owner of the restaurant, says being a positive change in the community is good business and he is glad he can make a difference.“It felt really good that we could give the homeless a mutton curry, something that is special, not just to fill their bellies. We were helped by (a local butcher) with a discounted rate for the mutton.” Meanwhile, the main focus of their partnership is based on the restaurant purchasing U-Turn vouchers and reselling the vouchers to the public.Rowen Ravera of U-Turn says they are happy with the partnership. She explains: “It is a partnership that they are able to terminate at any point and not a formal contract.”This is in support of the organisation’s goal of providing long-term solutions to homelessness across Cape Town and it has thus far proven to be a success.“I understand that they have sold out vouchers and need to restock, so it appears that the initiative has been well received. However, our voucher system has been going well for some time and we are seeing a continual increase in the number of vouchers being redeemed. This the core to U-Turn’s message – we need to invest in long-term solutions. Few organisations are investing in long-term rehabilitation solutions or tracking their impact.” Ravera says vouchers provide for basic needs, but more importantly provide access to support services.She acknowledges however that although the vouchers were introduced more than a year ago, there is still a mixed reaction towards them. “Some are not familiar with it, and when you explain that the vouchers will put them in touch with extended support and rehabilitation services with work opportunities, they get interested. There are a few who get very angry when you offer a voucher – they are asking for money and annoyed to receive the voucher. Money is often used to fuel addiction, and this is not helping the individual.” According to Ravera, all the funds raised through the sale of the vouchers will go towards providing food and rehabilitative support services to people still living on the streets. She thanked the different businesses and other stakeholders that have partnered with them and continue to be part of making a difference to those in need.V For more information about U-Turn, visit http://homeless.org.za/contact-us.