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Gift of the Givers steps in to support desperate Touws River community

With Covid-19 hitting South Africa, 93% of Touws Rivier has been left unemployed. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency(ANA)

With Covid-19 hitting South Africa, 93% of Touws Rivier has been left unemployed. Photographer Ayanda Ndamane African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jan 28, 2021

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Cape Town - Gift of the Givers (GOTG) has stepped in to provide vital food relief to the community of Touws River, which is hard hit by unemployment.

The aid organisation said the situation in the area was dire due to the high levels of poverty as a result of rampant unemployment. It revealed that 93% of the town’s residents were unemployed as major companies had either shut down or slashed their workforces due to the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown.

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“CTE (Commuter Transport Engineering), the main source of employment for residents, has closed down. Aquila Game Reserve has put off staff as the impact of travel restrictions has left them battling. Farmers have put off workers as the impact of borders being closed has left them in dire straits,” said GOTG project manager Ali Sablay.

“The situation is dire. I’m glad we could assist the community.”

To address food insecurity, residents Rashaad Baker and Dalene van der Merwe established a community soup kitchen from Van der Merwe’s home in Populier Street in August, 2020.

On the opening day, GOTG distributed food parcels, sweet packs for children and bulk foods consisting of cabbage, potatoes, onions, fish and mealie meal to the soup kitchen.

A grateful Baker said the intervention had been a “Godsend”.

“This is the second time that they have assisted us with much-needed food parcels for our struggling people.”

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Van der Merwe said: “We saw the great need in Touws River since the lockdown started. People have been coming to the shop which we run to keep our mouths open, and people would also come to ask for bread, so I told Rashaad: ‘Why don't we start a soup kitchen with the income we have so that we can give people food who are hungry?’

“But the demand grew. When people found out, 300 came, and more. We couldn’t keep up because we only had a budget for around 25 people.”

Cape Argus

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