With the 21-day nationwide lockdown well under way, there are plenty of concerns about those who will be out of work and unable to put food on their tables.
This prompted Hout Bay residents Nazley Sadan and Alene Edson Smith to rise up and attempt to tackle the problem.
Despite being slowed down by restrictions put in place by the lockdown, the pair decided to change their approach and forge ahead to continue helping as many as possible.
“There were no children walking to the harbour as they normally do. And I started asking myself. Where are our children? What are they eating? Who is looking after them? I then called Alene and voiced my concern and we just went ahead and started a request via social media,” Ms Sadan said.
Ms Smith added to Ms Sadan’s thoughts and said: “My heartbeat has always been the people and growing up on the Cape Flats has taught me valuable lessons in life and especially around meeting the needs of those who so dearly need it.”
A few hours before the lockdown came into effect, the pair prepared a few meals and set out to feed the most vulnerable in Hangberg.
“I had to make sure that all the food donated is pre-packed in new ziplock bags. My family spent the night with me shrink wrapping the rolls individually, to lessen the risk of contamination,” she said.
However, Ms Sadan spends most of her day making samoosas from her home in order to generate some income. She uses a portion of the proceeds to buy ingredients to cook for the needy.
“This initiative is about feeding the needy and the most vulnerable, but the challenges are ingredients to keep going as long as we can.”
Ms Sadan recently received a donation of five litres of hand sanitiser and other food items from ward councillor, Roberto Quintas.
However, the feeding initiative is not out of the woods just yet, as they are still in urgent need of items for soup, specifically split peas, vegetables such as carrots, celery, parsley, tomatoes, potatoes and onions, as well as foam cups or containers to minimise the risk of spreading the dreaded virus.
Today, both Ms Smith and Ms Sadan form part of the Hout Bay Covid-19 response team and the organisation, Hout Bay CAN, which represents the Hangberg community with other NGOs like the Hangberg Relief Fund, Peace and Mediation Forum, Hangberg Education Movement, Home away from Home and James House.
“I cannot close my eyes at night and pray for a peaceful night’s rest if I know I have not played my part in ensuring that the vulnerable are taken care of. I know I can’t save the world, but I’m a believer in the words of the late Mother Teresa: ‘If I can touch the life of one person I have found my purpose for living’,” Ms Smith said.
The feeding initiative also works hand in hand with a local business, Massimos Pizza, who closed their business but opened their kitchen to help serve the needy.
Ms Sadan said all cash donations made towards the feeding initiative is made directly to Massimos or their Back-a-Buddy campaign.
“As these two business owners have closed their restaurant, they opened their kitchen and their hearts to the community’s needs,” Ms Sadan said.
The lockdown might have brought their feeding efforts to a halt, but already, they are thinking about life after lockdown.
In fear of the virus spreading, the City’s Disaster Risk Management department informed the pair that they would not be allowed to cook any more meals to hand out to the community.
Instead, they were given the green light to create food parcels to be handed out.
“Community workers will still be able to serve the community. Although strict measures have been put into place, continue supporting Alene, as she is still allowed to make food parcels,” Ms Sadan said.
She said they intend to officially start their own soup kitchen once restrictions are lifted and continue serving the needy.
If anybody is willing to assist with future feeding schemes in the community, you can either contact Ms Sadan on 081 367 7060 or Ms Smith on 074 895 3342.