Feeding the needy continues

Member of Woodstock Community Outreach Forum, Shamiel Abbas stirring the soup at the Sulaimania mosque. Image by Ashura Easton

Woodstock’s poor and homeless are dodging hunger thanks to the efforts of the Woodstock Community Outreach Forum and a local mosque.

For the past two weeks, the forum and the Sulaimania Masjid in William Street have been making food for the needy, with the help of donations from the community.

According to forum member Shamiel Abbas, they had been cooking big pots of chicken curry, soup and other food, which they deliver nightly to drop-off points at Die Plasie in Wright Street, Pine Road, Woodstock Town Hall and a spot under the FNB building in Victoria Street, feeding at least 250 people.

There were, he added, still many homeless people in Woodstock despite the City’s efforts to move them to shelters for the lockdown.

Mayoral committee member for community services and health Dr Zahid Badroodien said the City had set up a camp at Strandfontein sports ground to shelter up to 2 500 homeless during the Covid-19 lockdown and it could be expanded if necessary. “Since Sunday’s arrivals we have had just over 1 100 persons,” he said.

The City had not forgotten about the homeless in Woodstock and Observatory and they would also be moved off the streets, he said.

“Physical distancing has reduced the capacity of the buses to 30 persons per bus and the city has a rotational schedule where we are picking up street people from across the city.”

The forum and mosque are also helping families who have lost their income during the lockdown.

They are families in houses in Regent Street, York Road, Osborne and Gympie street, Woodstock.

“It is around 100 of people in those different families that we assist with feeding,” he said.

Mogammad Ameen Eksteen, the assistant imam at the Sulaimania Masjid, said the mosque was there to help in their time of need.

“It has been difficult in doing this community work as we had to keep to a minimum in working space, though we are committed to helping the needy.”

Call or text Mr Abbas at 067 631 8549 or Ashura Easton on 062 045 4733 if you want to help.