'People are crying out for help' - charity relies on grace, kindness to help feed the hungry

Food parcels (Jenni Evans, News24)
Food parcels (Jenni Evans, News24)

"I have never seen one of those government food parcels," says Ankarien Oelofse in-between co-ordinating food deliveries for the hungry and destitute in Table View, Cape Town. 

"People are crying out for help," she said, juggling the preparation of donated food parcels and taking calls from people asking for help.

Table View Angels shelter, which houses families who have lost their income and homes, was already full before the lockdown.

But the private struggles of people, who were only just making ends meet before the lockdown, have also come to the fore as businesses close down.

"Things have skyrocketed," Oelofse said.

One woman is living in a garage with no toilet, and is also deeply depressed and lonely.

Winter is approaching and people, who were already struggling to clothe their families, have not been able to buy any warm clothes because shops are closed, so another appeal was put out for them.

A minimum of 35 families in the area need help with food every week under normal circumstances.

Oelofse said Table View Angels got by just with "God's grace" and donations of R100 here, R200 there.

But now the demand is even greater, and she wishes they could get some of the donations the "big-name" charities get, or even from the government, to help the needy in the area.

Protests

Protests over food parcels have flared up in small pockets of Cape Town, with people complaining in spite of promises by the government, food parcels seem to be elusive.

In the meantime, Table View Angels is relying on the goodwill of the residents of Milnerton, Table View and Melkbosstrand for donations in cash, or in kind, to help them help their struggling neighbours during the lockdown.

READ | Police clamp down on more attempted looting 

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday a six-month coronavirus grant would be introduced for those "most desperately affected by the coronavirus".

Child support grant beneficiaries will get an extra R300 in May and from June to October, they will get another R500 per month. All other grant beneficiaries will get an extra R250 per month for the next six months.An additional special social relief of distress grant of R350 per month will be available for the next six months to those who are unemployed and not receiving other forms of grants or UIF payments.

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