Heart FM Afternoon Drive presenter Suga greets some of the youngsters who are part of the community-based project Overflow. Picture: 16 Days For Youth/Supplied.

Cape Town - The annual 16 Days for Youth campaign launched weekend in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain, at the weekend in support of a community-run initiative called Overflow. 

Overflow was born out of a need to feed the children in the area. Rocklands is rife with gangsterism drugs and alcohol abuse. As a result, hundreds of children are left unattended and malnourished. These kids are walking the streets knocking on doors looking for something to eat.

16 Days for Youth was launched in 2016 by local radio station Heart FM. The aim of the initiative is to share the stories of ordinary people making an extraordinary difference in the lives of the youth in their communities.

The annual 16 Days for Youth campaign launched weekend in Rocklands, Mitchells Plain, at the weekend in support of a community-run initiative called Overflow. Picture: 16 Days For Youth/Supplied.

Each year the station identifies a number of these projects throughout the Western Cape that offer support in different ways: from feeding schemes to day care facilities, safehouses, sports and recreation. What they all have in common is the fact that they not only offer a haven for the youth in the area, but create opportunities to make a sustainable difference in their lives through education, coaching, feeding or empowerment projects. 

Until June 16, the station is broadcasting from 6am to 6pm from each location. 

The station offers a platform for listeners to support these initiatives in either their private or corporate capacities, through cash donations or volunteering their time for building, painting, or feeding and entertaining the youth. 

Overflow is run by family matriarch Katherine Meyer, affectionately known as “Ma Kathy”. Meyer and her daughter Jean established Overflow a few years ago with the aim of feeding the neighbourhood children at least once a week. 

With no financial grant or formal non-government organisation (NGO) status, the mother and daughter team rallied those near and dear to them, who came on board.

Today, the team consist of family members who get together on a weekly basis to plan, budget and cook for hundreds of local children from toddlers to teens. They each contribute financially towards procuring ingredients and supplies. 

Cash donations of food and money do come in sporadically, from those who know the team, but are not consistent. Overflow has been serving the weekly meals outside a nearby church, and the children come at 4pm on a Friday to get their meal. 

With the help and generosity of listeners, yesterday the project received a plethora of groceries and cash donations – enough to sustain them over the next few months. 

The Heart FM team of presenters, producers and support staff built a covered structure that will enable Overflow to continue serving hot meals during the winter months.

On Sunday, volunteers came out to Baron’s Cape Town to pack meals with Rise Against Hunger, an NGO that currently feeds over 75 000 children a week across the country. 

Their focus is on providing nutritional meals to children at early childhood development centres across the country. 

The target was to pack 15 000 meals to take on the road with them over the next two weeks to distribute to those in need. 

In partnership with 16 Days for Youth, Baron’s Cape Town and McDonald’s Western Cape have become drop-off points for donations of non-perishable food items, until June 16. 

* For more information about the initiative, go to http://16daysforyouth.com/
** Follow the journey on social media @Heart1049FM or @16DaysForYouth - #16DaysForYouth.

Cape Argus