Helderberg Rotary Sunrise food support scheme

Helderberg Rotary Sunrise Club president, Ona Greeff, left, with Emily Stoffels-Ndumiso of Ikhaya Soup Kitchen, collecting a consignment of food from Central Mini Market in Somerset West.

The Helderberg Rotary Sunrise Club (HRSC), which usually focuses its efforts on supporting schooling projects such as “Literacy for All”, “Going for Gold” and “Numeracy for All”, has turned its attention to helping alleviate the food crisis that has emerged since the implementation of the Covid-19 lockdown.

“We are acutely aware of the challenges regarding food provision that are facing the residents of the mostly informal settlements in the Helderberg Basin. It is for this reason that our club has decided to lend a helping hand, where possible working together with other clubs in the Helderberg Basin,” HRSC community services chairperson, Chris van der Leij told Bolander.

“Our club is currently providing food parcels and other basic necessities such as blankets to four organisations focusing on four townships: Khayelitsha, Macassar, Nomzamo, and Lwandle, as well as street people in Somerset West,” said Mr Van der Leij.

Masikhule, which focuses on supporting early childhood development centre initiatives, currently provides food to children who were formerly fed in creches and pre-primary schools in Khayelitsha and other townships.

Macassar Help Empower Local People (MHELP) provides food and spiritual support to the elderly, the infirm, and children at risk in the Macassar community. Between 250 and 300 people get support, three days a week from MHELP.

The Somerset West Night Shelter (SWNS) feeds, and where possible, lodges the homeless and street people of Somerset West.

The current influx of homeless people fleeing the streets is such that they opened an emergency shelter in Church Street.

The number of residents supported at the night shelter has grown to more than 120 adults, according to Mr Van der Leij.

Ikhaya Soup Kitchen, feeds impoverished school children and their families in Nomzamo and Lwandle.

Emily Stoffels-Ndumiso, who runs the soup kitchen, serves over 800 people each week. She relies exclusively on donations from churches and HRSC.

“The club buys most of its food from supermarkets in the Somerset West area. The Central Mini Market in Main Road, Somerset West has been particularly co-operative by giving us discounts and even delivering to the specific distribution points, when necessary,” Mr Van der Leij said.

“One of the most gratifying aspects of the HSRC food support scheme is the smile on the faces of the recipients. We need to do much more, but the extent of our club’s support is limited to the funds we are able to raise.

“With the help of more donors, the Helderberg Sunrise Rotary Club hopes to ramp up its support of the needy,” he added.

For more information about The Helderberg Rotary Sunrise Club’s efforts to feed people in need, or to make a donation, contact Chris van der Leij on cvanderleij@hotmail.com or 072 613 7206.