‘Heaven’ looks after the homeless

Kathy da Silva cooking for the homeless with Shelly Fernandez and Kayleigh Symes. x
Kathy da Silva cooking for the homeless with Shelly Fernandez and Kayleigh Symes. x

KAYLEIGH Symes believes in helping homeless people and does this by feeding them every Thursday outside the Pinetown SAPS at 6.15pm.

Kayleigh started an NGO - Heavens Kitchen 3610 - in 2014.
“Our hearts burn for the poor. The Bible talks about the poor and how important it is to look after them often. I am motivated by Proverbs 14:31 that says ‘Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker’.
“We decided in the winter of 2014 to assist the homeless, as it was a really cold winter. I cooked soup and served it outside the Pinetown police station. A lot of homeless people sleep outside the police station because they feel it's safe.
“We decided to cook soup or stews that are nutritional. Hattons Spar cooks once a month with ingredients supplied and donated by people in the community.”

This good Samaritans feeds 80 to 100 homeless people and a local bakery supplies bread, while other donations come from volunteers and the community.

“We started with only 20 people, but it grew to about 80 and 100 homeless people. I advertised on Facebook for groups to gather some donations for the feeding scheme, but was overwhelmed by the many people who wanted to get involved in donating, serving, cooking and volunteering.

“Once a month we supply the homeless with a goodie bag filled with toiletries, candles, matches, lip ice and tinned food. A woman by the name of Sharon makes sandwiches on the last Thursday of the month. The rest of the month they make sandwiches with polony and peanut butter.

“We have families, restaurants and some schools who cook and volunteer in this initiative. Running Heavens Kitchen 3610 while having a full-time job is quite exhausting, but very rewarding. It's such a humbling experience, but unfortunately it's not for everyone.

“We see people going through drug withdrawal and some are very sick. Others are starving and cold especially in winter.

“We often have to rush people to the nearest hospital because they are having epileptic fits or are unable to eat from being so weak.”

The volunteers are committed and without them Heavens Kitchen 3610 would not be a success she said.

“Upper Highway residents are very generous. We are now organising a Christmas party on Tuesday 3 December when we will give every homeless person a goodie bag just to show we love and care for them.

“Kids Kingdom cooks for the homeless we need more schools and restaurants to sponsor meals. It wouldn't have been possible without our volunteers Charlene, Sandy, Edna, Di, Jaq, Roger, Grace, Shane, Krishni, Kenny, Gillian, Brandon, Bradley, Abraham, Debbie from Blue Chilli, Denise from Wood Cutters and Sharon and Kerryn.

Drop off points for donations are 23 Ambulane Road in Kloof, 45 Alexander Road in Westmead, Hatton Estate in Pinetown and 48 Buckingham Terrace in Westville.

For more information or to get involved contact Symes on 079 298 8488 or visit her Facebook page -heavenskitchen3610.

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