PMB kitchen feeds homeless, petty criminals

2015-09-28 10:00
Gary Perumal feeds over 400 people a day with donations he receives from local businesses.

Gary Perumal feeds over 400 people a day with donations he receives from local businesses. (Ian Carbutt)

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Pietermaritzburg - Hundreds of Pietermaritzburg residents are queuing up for a meal every day at what is known as Gary’s Kitchen in Boom Street.

The streetside feeding scheme provides meals to the homeless, street children, pensioners and even local petty criminals, but to the kitchen’s founder, Gary Perumal, helping anyone in need is his calling.

For many of them it is the only meal they eat.

“I get between 300 and 400 people. Some of them just book their places in the queue and come back later. Our peak hour is at 4 pm,” said Perumal.

“We get people from all races. Mostly its elderly people, widows and homeless people,” he said.

Perumal, who started the kitchen four years ago, relies on donations by supermarkets and local businesses.

“[Pietermaritzburg grocery] Save Hyper are one of the companies that regularly call me to come and collect from their store,” said Perumal.

Save Hyper store manager Rashaad Solomon said they had identified Garry’s feeding scheme as a suitable project to sponsor.

“We are always involved in social responsibility programmes. We saw Garry’s feeding scheme as a good cause and decided to partner with him,” he said

“We mostly give him freshly baked stuff which was not sold on the day it was baked, because we do not want to throw food away. We rather give it to people who need it.”

Perumal is unemployed and is dependent on the support of his wife who works as a bookkeeper and owns a boarding house.

“I am a born-again Christian. Christianity teaches us to love one another. I’m doing this out of love,” he said.

Perumal appealed to businesses and individuals to support his initiative.

“If you have food to donate, just give me a call and I will come and pick it up. I do not want money. I will not accept cash or cheques,” said Perumal.

But with the numbers increasing daily, Perumal said he has noticed discomfort among regulars.

“Lately I have got complaints that skabengas [criminals] are jumping the queue. We had to teach them that is not how to behave yourself. Now they know that they have to wait for their turn in the queue,” said Perumal

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  homeless  |  feeding

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