Every Monday and Wednesday, at about 3am, Ghaironesa Clarke gets out of bed, says a little prayer, takes ingredients out of her kitchen cupboards and starts cooking… for more than 300 children in and around the Hout Bay Harbour.
She started cooking for the children four months ago after getting a donation of food from her daughter.
That first donation, says Ghaironesa, sparked something in her – a need to help others. The result is Toekie’s Kitchen.
“I do it out of love for children and people. I made the first pot of food not thinking that this would become a norm, and I didn’t think it would start a feeding scheme, but I love it.”
Every week, lentil curry, fish and tuna breyani, tomato breedie and so much more leaves Toekie’s Kitchen, bound for the stomachs of hungry children.
“Right now, there is no fish to catch, and this means, there are families going hungry, and I want to help with this. I want to make a difference, and I hope that people can learn to love each other.”
Ghaironesa, who was born and bred in Hout Bay, lives with her husband, Sharkey, at their Seemeeu Court home in Salmander Way, Hangberg.
“My wife has been doing this amazing project now, and she is helping so many people,” says Sharkey. “She puts in a great effort, and there are plenty that appreciate what she does.
“If only we can get more people to help her, like sponsors and stuff like that because she really is doing this with so much passion.”
Word of Toekies Kitchen is spreading fast in Hout Bay.
Cheryl Daniels, who works at the Hout Bay Harbour, says she’s very thankful for Ghaironesa’s act of selflessness.
“This woman is doing something good for the community. She feeds all these people, mostly children, but when you see her busy, it’s like its her job, but it’s not.”
Cheryl’s children have also been fed by Ghaironesa on a few occasions and she says they always rave about her food.
“I am a single mother of three and sometimes I work after hours. They have been to Aunty Ghairo a few times already and you taste the effort, love and passion in her food. It’s very rare you find somebody that puts so much into giving and caring for a community. We all can learn a thing or two from this woman, she has made it her mission, and it’s amazing what she does,” she said.
Ghaironesa hopes to see her initiative grow.
“I would like to thank all the sponsors thus far, but I do not want to stop here. There are people out there who need help and I only want the community to open their hearts and help where they can.”
Toekie’s Kitchen opens every Monday and Wednesday. If you would like to assist or donate towards the scheme, contact Sharkey or Ghaironesa Clarke at 076 916 9881 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/feedingishealing/ or follow them on Instagram @feedingishealing