Staff and learners of Athwood Primary School, in Hanover Park, were thrilled at the beginning of the year by the possibility of a fully furnished mobile soup kitchen, a joint venture between the school and one of the country’s leading retailers.
The set up of the kitchen began on the premises, but the Covid-19 pandemic put breaks on the project.
As part of the plan, the retailer would donate the cooking ingredients to feed the learners during the week. “We were looking forward to the soup kitchen where the food would be prepared on the premises,” says Evan Petersen, the school’s principal.
He adds that they have community organisations and volunteers that donated pots, and the donation would have enabled the school to feed the learners twice a week.
“When schools were closed my biggest concern was where will the learners and children from the community of Hanover Park get the one meal that they received once a week at the school. I opened my school during the lockdown and with the help of parents from Bishops Preparatory School and the organisation Charity Book we fed approximately 160 children per day,” he says.
But the running of the kitchen during the lockdown was also put on hold as only a portion of the learners were able to make their way to the school.
Petersen felt it would be unfair that some learners receive a meal while the others are still at home.
“After schools could reopen we fed those that were present, but I felt that the situation was not what we envisaged at the beginning of the year and decided to wait with the soup kitchen till the school is at full capacity,” says Petersen.
However, the retailer wanted to do something for the school and on Wednesday 15 July it donated spekboom trees to be planted on the premises. The trees are part of a garden project currently being rolled out at the school.
As soon as lockdown is over the kitchen project will continue to provide children with food.
“We work with Fiona Jackson as our project facilitator. The container for the soup kitchen was sponsored by the Good Deeds Organisation, headed by Dr Azgher Karjiker, a graduate of the University of Cape Town, who started the organisation in conjunction with other medical students to help disadvantaged communities. Ashraf Allie from the NPO Cape Winds is the facilitator of this project,” Petersen says.