South Africa: COVID-19 - George Residents Thankful for Its Many Soup Kitchens

About 80 feeding schemes are operating during the lockdown, many from people's backyards

Struggling families in the townships of Lawaaikamp, Blanco, and Rosemore in George, Western Cape, have welcomed food relief brought by 80 of the 140 soup kitchens that remain open during the Covid-19 national lockdown.

Trucks stocked with food donations and hygiene parcels donated by local businesses and the George municipality have been delivering supplies to feeding scheme centres.

Most of the soup kitchens operate from people's backyards and were in operation before the pandemic.

Mary Odendaal, who runs a feeding scheme from her home in Rosemore, said, "lt has always been my duty to feed the needy ... We are happy that the municipality has allowed us to [continue to] operate."

In Lawaaikamp, many families depend on soup kitchens for their nutritional needs. Siphelele Dingana, 29, who has been unemployed for three years after the construction company he worked for closed down, said, "lt's very embarrassing and sad for a young person like me, who still has energy to work, to depend on a soup kitchen to survive."

"I just hope that after all this, the government will come up with a much better plan for jobs for everyone," he said.

Resident Natasha Lambard said, "Soup kitchens are most needed in our areas because the majority of young people are not working ... Most of the youth here depend on their parent's pension grants. lt's sad and embarrassing to see young people queueing for food when they can work for themselves and improve their lives - but jobs are scarce."

George Municipality Manager Trevor Botha said, "We are thankful that the municipality has existing processes and projects for the needy and having these support structures already in place has proven valuable in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic."

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