Her heart saw a need in the community and she committed herself to doing everything that she could – even if it meant doing this out of her own pocket – to fulfil that need.
This is the testimony of a woman who was born and lived in a different country for most of her teenage years, but when she moved to South Africa, specifically Gqeberha almost 30 years ago, she became one with her community and knew that she would one day take care of the people in her new home.
Denise October (46), who is originally from Keetmanshoop in Namibia and currently resides in Malabar, is the chairperson and founder of the Get Giving Foundation. Through this organisation that was registered in 2019, she has been running four feeding schemes from Mondays to Thursdays, in different areas, which include, Oceanview, Openview, Extension 6 in Malabar and Parsonsvlei.
She runs all of these from her own home.
Where possible, the foundation also runs programmes with the Department of Social Development, to empower and provide information to beneficiaries within the areas.
These programmes touch on issues such as drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and general life skills. October also tries to provide support to ensure that school-going children remain in school, by means of an after-school assistance programme to help them stay off the streets.
“In 2015, I realised that there was an urgent need for assistance in the Extension 6 area, not taking anything away from other organisations, but the people in this area were really struggling. That was how I decided to form the Get Giving Foundation,” October explained.
“We are blessed to receive donations from so many private individuals, other organisations and businesses. These donations honestly help us feed the many beneficiaries we have in our fold,” she said.
“We are running the entire feeding programme from my home and yes, there is a burden on the usage of electricity and water.
“We have been sending out letters requesting assistance in this regard.
“A bigger priority is having our own transport because we are always, daily, weekly, and even over weekends, looking for and paying people out of our own pockets to help us collect donations of food or clothing or whatever is provided. I am forever grateful to my son and his friends who sometimes help us out and Ms Khadiejah Ebrahim, as well as our ‘uncle,’ Mr Shaheen Somaar.
“I appreciate them as they are with me daily, helping to prepare, deliver and provide the meals.”
October said that her inspiration to help others comes from her late maternal grandmother, who was a force to be reckoned with but with the softest heart, her home being open to everyone.
“I also saw a need among the elderly and my love for the elderly within my area drove me to do something for them, especially seeing their struggle being greater than my own.
“My home has become a central point; I also help the elderly with hospital and clinic visits and even the disabled find their way to us.
“I try to do as much as I can, even if it is just randomly popping in to see if someone is doing okay or sending a voice note or message to let people know that I am here for them. We are all going through tough times, personal issues and health issues.
“Life is just hard but I am always aware of the needs and issues of so many others and that includes my own family.”
The foundation is busy planning its Christmas feeding that will take place on December 24 and donations in all forms are welcome.
This is a yearly initiative that also takes place during Easter, on Mother’s Day and Heritage Day, although the foundation was not able to provide a Heritage Day meal this year.
“That saddens me and I would like to appeal to the public for any donations for party packs for the kids.
“It is difficult to determine a number as we have seen an increase in beneficiaries in the different areas and we have been in situations where we have run out of food with our weekly feeding scheme,” October said.
“I’d like to encourage people to give with an open heart and you shall receive beyond your measure.”
- Anyone who would like to donate or get in touch with the foundation can visit their Facebook page or contact October on 073 791 5113. An email can also be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.