Seven months ago Velia Davids, 54, from Kensington was begging for help to feed hundreds of children. Now she is thankful to everyone who supported the initiative (“Call for help feed kids”, People’s Post, 2 April 2019)
Neighbours, friends, taxi drivers and the Kensington police came on board, making it possible for Velia to feed the hungry once a week. Meals are served at 18th Avenue squatter camp, Gate One Maitland, and Gate Four on 14th Avenue. She also prepares sandwiches for children at Kenmere, WD Hendricks and Sunderland Primary schools.
While some residents help with donations or preparing meals, Davids says police are always available when she has problems transporting pots of food.
“Sometimes they even help with serving the meals. For that I am grateful,” she says.
She says demand is growing and she cannot turn children away. Over several months she noticed an increase in people coming to the feeding points.
So far, schools have referred 335 children from WD Hendricks, 80 from Kenmere and more than 140 from Sunderland.
“They appreciate and always look forward to it. I try to do it more often, but sometimes, I run out of ingredients. If we could all reach out to these children, we would be able to make a difference and help keep them at school,” says Davids. The ingredients for sandwiches include jam, peanut butter, polony, cheese, eggs, tinned fish, bread and for the cooked meals, she needs chicken, potatoes, rice, vegetables and gas for the stove.
She says children struggle to learn if they are hungry.
“I give from the heart. We must feel each other’s pain and reach out.
“Thank you to everyone who makes every meal possible,” says Davids.
Sgt Angeline Grill, Kensington police spokesperson, says they want to formalise a partnership for the afterschool feeding programme planned for 2020. The afterschool programme is run by the police’s community outreach programme.