What started out as a group of people dishing out soup with sandwiches and engaging the city’s homeless has evolved into a platform where people living on the street are helped or enabled to help themselves regain their dignity.
Through a collaboration of volunteers, the homeless and corporates, the monthly socials have included haircuts and pop-up boutique clothing spaces that allow homeless people to “shop” in a dignified manner.
Founder Kerry Hoffman said what set her on this path on June7, 2014 was her own personal pain that opened her eyes to the situation on the City’s streets.
“For just those few hours in the Company’s Garden something just clicked inside me and it became a once-a-month social gathering between “homeful”.
While we have reached this milestone, it’s time to address the bigger picture and our own human hub, which will be the first port of call for people on the street to go to and be dignified,” said Hoffman.
She said their aim was not just about giving meals, but to provide support and connect people who were able to help each other.
“Our own hub will allow us to collect data, upskill people and connect them with collaborators who can upskill troopers.
"It will also allow us to create an enterprise hub, a café and have a hairdresser where we can employ the unemployed and generate an income for our organisation,” said Hoffman.
She said there were a lot of homeless people who did not want to live on the street, and Souper Troopers worked with the City, corporates and their organisations as a connecting point.
One of the first people Hoffman met four years ago was Charlene Matafin, who said that through Souper Troopers she received the support she needed to get off the streets.
“You meet so many people trying to help, but they fade out and disappear. Kerry kept coming back, and gave me a R50 to live in a shelter.
"Their support has been amazing, and I am now helping with a winter campaign where donated wool is being turned into beanies, scarves and gloves for those still on the street,” said Matafin.
The raffle draw will take place on June7 and their birthday bash on June10. A popular local band will perform.
There are prizes on offer, including a few night stays at luxury hotels, spa and beauty treatments. Entry also includes spot daily prizes like a R100 voucher from Mischu and two cupcakes from Charly’s Bakery.
To get your raffle tickets and for more information on Souper Troopers, visit them on Facebook or go to www.soupertroopers.org.