Cape Town – Able to feed only 32 preschool children in a small town with 600 kids under the age of five, Johanna Solomon is frustrated that limited funding is the cause of so many going hungry during the lockdown.
The principal of the Emmanuel Educare non-profit organisation in Touws River was born and bred in the railway town of around 9 000 inhabitants, which is situated 164km north-east from Cape Town.
Despite the challenging circumstances she finds herself in, the 50-year-old married mother-of-three is a glass-half-full person.
This is clearly indicated in a Facebook post she wrote today: "Thank you Mr. President for the relief for our country... Rather be satisfied with half an egg than an empty shell.
"There are two types of people in our country. The satisfied and dissatisfied people. Thank you that I walk with the satisfied people. This makes us winners regardless of our circumstances... Blessed Level 5 day."
While her creche is closed because of the lockdown, she has permission to open her kitchen and cook three times a week. Paying for petrol out of her pocket, the food is then delivered to the homes of 32 children who attend her creche.
While her creche is closed because of the lockdown, Johanna Solomon has permission to open her kitchen and cook three times a week. Picture: Supplied
"I have a tin shed that we built in my backyard where I cook the food. I then take my husband’s car to deliver the food to the children because I don’t want them walking in the street and have a large gathering outside our gate," said Johanna.
"There are five us who are working in the kitchen. I deliver the food to the houses of the children at noon three days a week.
"On Tuesdays and Thursdays, when we don’t deliver food, the children ask their parents when is Aunty Hannie coming with our food? We can’t fully explain to them that we don’t get enough funding.
"We only get a R4 200 subsidy from the government for 32 children, but we have 55 children that need to be fed. Unfortunately, I can’t help those who are unable to pay for the school fees due to their parents being unable to work during the lockdown.
"I feel bad about it but what can I do because I have limited funding. We did a census at the beginning of the month and there are 600 children up to the age of five in Touws River. There are four creches in the area, but only mine is open at the moment.
"The working class in Touws River are struggling to make ends meet. Most of them work on the farms in De Doorns and are unable to earn a living.
"So when the parents struggle, it hits the kids hard. It’s a pity that I am not able to feed the whole family."
She doesn't believe that food parcels are the answer.
"Food parcels don’t work because the parents of the kids I feed can't cook the food because they have run out of electricity and don’t have money. We deliver a ready-cooked meal.
"We haven’t been touched by the coronavirus in Touws River at the moment, so we should be allowed to go to work so that parents have money to feed their families."
If you can assist Johanna in feeding starving kids, please deposit money in the following account:
Name of account: Emmanuel Educare
Account number: 9312 829 169
Type of account: Savings
Branch number: 632005
Address: Emmanuel Educare, Hoogstraat 62, Touws River
Contact: Johanna Solomon 082 426 6897