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Cape Town - Despite last-minute donations, including a R50 000 gift from the mayor, The Arch soup kitchen run by St George’s Cathedral Hall in Cape Town will still close.
Dean of Cape Town the Very Rev Michael Weeder said the decision had not been an easy one. But a shortage of funds was just one problem – it had also followed threats to the safety of staff and volunteers.
“The decision was made because we do not have the staff or the number of volunteers to run The Arch efficiently and safely. Sadly there is a criminal element that has started to abuse the cathedral precinct, and we have had situations where our staff and volunteers have been openly threatened.”
The soup kitchen is headed by Mary van Blerck, a pensioner, who Weeder said would be happy to enjoy her retirement.
Weeder said the cathedral was grateful for all the donations and volunteers that had allowed the service to run for more than 35 years.
Mayor Patricia de Lille said that when they became aware of the soup kitchen’s “lack of funds” money was donated from the Mayor’s Special Fund.
“The reality remains that the city’s resources are stretched. As such, I want to appeal to businesses and individuals to come forward with monetary contributions so that, together, we can ensure that this essential place of assistance to so many people remains open.”