VRCID Field Worker Allistair Scholtz with Sleeping Site visitor Paulina Silver. Picture: Supplied.
VRCID Field Worker Allistair Scholtz with Sleeping Site visitor Paulina Silver. Picture: Supplied.

Sunshine restored to the lives of homeless people

By Murphy Nganga Time of article published Aug 7, 2021

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Cape Town - Mould Empower Serve (MES) and the Voortrekker Road Corridor Improvement District (VRCID) are restoring the sunshine to a number of homeless people at Cold Front Sleeping Sites.

This is following the death of a homeless man who succumbed to the bitter cold weather experienced in the Cape recently.

Lesley Lawrence, who is homeless and found refuge at Cold Front Sleeping Sites, said that after the experience of the other man he remains grateful.

“I feel very grateful to be able to go to a sleeping site when it's cold and wet. It's a very nice, warm place to sleep, and we get warm food. After we eat our dinner, we play games. We're treated with respect here,” said Lawrence.

MES Cape Town branch manager Ilse Maartens said that Covid-19 brought people’s lives to a standstill, giving everyone a chance to reflect on how they are living, and how they can give back. Hence the Bellville Cold Front Sleeping Sites to give back.

“Eight years ago, together with our partner organisations, community members and businesses, we started the Bellville cold front sleeping site and quite recently two new sites in Parow and Durbanville were established to cater for more during the harsh weather. Since June, Bellville’s Debonairs donated 30 pizzas, Shoprite donated 90 blankets, a R3 000 voucher and warm meals, Tyger Valley donated food, and there have been many community members calling to make donations,” she said.

Veronica Geduld, one of three field workers for the VRCID’s social development team, said that when the homeless arrive at the site, “they’re just so happy to be dry, warm and well fed, and many of them just want to sleep”.

“I usually sit and talk to them, to build trust, and we make jokes to make them feel at ease and that feeling never gets old,” said Geduld.

Group sustainability manager at Shoprite, Sanjeev Raghubir said that as Africa's largest food retailer, the Shoprite Group has a robust programme in place to address the food security challenges faced daily by many people across the continent.

“Shoprite is committed to act for change in the communities it serves, even more so when disaster strikes, and the cold front that recently occurred in Cape Town, which affected many homeless people, is just one of many relief efforts.

“Our immediate relief includes our Shoprite Mobile Soup Kitchens that can feed up to a 1 000 people with a fortified soup and bread, donating surplus food to hundreds of local, verified beneficiary organisations, as well as donations like blankets in cases where people are left destitute.”

You can show community love and support by donating to MES Cape Town on 3 Davis Street, Bellville, or to donate or volunteer, contact Clarina Hanekom via email: [email protected]

Weekend Argus

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