78 years of caring
Our history goes back to 1945, when the late Bishop Trevor Huddleston started soup kitchens in winter for hungry children in Alexandra and Soweto.
Five years later, the first permanent feeding centre was established and the scheme was feeding 4 000 children daily.
From the start, we understood that handouts were not a lasting solution. The tragedy of malnourished children was caused by poverty and lack of knowledge – and the focus of the scheme turned to health education and skills development programmes aimed at helping poverty-stricken people to become economically independent.
Over the years, 9 community centres were built in the worst affected areas of Soweto, Alexandra, Kagiso, Tsakane and Bothaville Freestate. Food is prepared at each centres, and children registered with the scheme would come at break time or after school for their daily peanut butter sandwich and cup of milk. We also have a bakery in Jabavu where fresh bread and rolls are baked daily and sold to the community.
In addition, six vans and five tri-cars were used to deliver meals to needy children not within walking distance of a centre. These children received a portion of processed cheese, containing the equivalent calcium and minerals, instead of the milk.
A further 300 High School children are served hot meals prepared at the schools, using ingredients donated by our caring partners. Pre-school children attend two of our centres where they receive meals and participate in early education programmes.
Records are kept for each child – and failure to collect their meal acts as a warning that something may be amiss at home; one of our sisters will then call to check on the family at home.
Communal vegetables gardens were established at each centre, and families of children enrolled in the scheme are encouraged to work in the gardens and learn skills that enable them to start their own small veggie patch at home.
“God bless Africa,
Guard her people,
Guide her leaders,
And bring her peace.”