Initiative feeds thousands daily

Broken Window feeding initiative member Abdullah Saffodien serving a meal to a young girl in Rylands.

A feeding initiative from Sybrand Park has been feeding around 3 000 people a day during the lockdown period.

The Broken Window feeding initiative is an arm of the Sybrand Park Neighbourhood Watch (SPNW), which first started this programme in 2015, when they cooked one pot of food a day for the less fortunate in the community.

Ebrahim Mohamed, chairman of the watch and feeding initiative, said they saw the need to go the extra mile during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Mohamed said they started a Broken Window WhatsApp group with interested volunteers and they had now grown to have over 100 volunteers from different communities, including Kenwyn, Garlandale, Lansdowne and Crawford, assisting in this programme.

Broken Window makes all their food at Star College in Sybrand Park, where the volunteers’ temperatures get checked before they come to work.

Since the middle of April, they have made 10 big pots of food a day. This includes dishes such as soup, noodles, curry and rice, lamb akni and even boerewors rolls and fish and chips.

Food gets delivered to areas like Mitchell’s Plain, Schaapkraal, Kuils River, Delft, and even to homes in Garlandale and Sybrand Park.

Mr Mohamed said either there would be people from the far away communities who would collect the food or his team would distribute it to the vulnerable community using their own cars but always driving in a convoy of three or more vehicles.

“The support from volunteers has been amazing; we have the youth as well as elderly people volunteering in making food,” said Mr Mohamed.

Mr Mohamed said his organisation was blessed as private donors donated money towards this cause and they received many food donations from sponsors.

Mr Mohamed said this experience was humbling and made him realise how unfortunate many people were during this difficult time.

“If you can start realising that you can help serve a basic need by providing food on a table for the most vulnerable, then people don’t have to resort to crime to see to their needs,” he said.

“We realised that many areas don’t have electricity and we must be grateful that we can have that need,” he said.

Yolanda Mullins, from Sybrand Park, who has been part of the feeding initiative since the beginning, said there has been excellent camaraderie working with the other volunteers in dishing up food for the feeding scheme.

Ms Mullins also had the opportunity to visit communities in Schaapkraal and Wynberg to serve meals to the needy.

“It has been a humbling experience coming face to face with the needy at grassroots level. It is an honour that I could assist in making a difference,” she said.

Stirling Kolbe has been living in Sybrand Park for 21 years and has been part of SPNW for two years and has also become involved with the Broken Window feeding initiative.

“It has been a great experience volunteering. I have been part of the church community where we always learn it’s important to help your neighbour,” he said.

Mr Kolbe said this experience gave him the opportunity to meet many families in the community.

Ward 60 councillor Mark Kleinschmidt said he was very proud of the group’s achievements.

“They are doing excellent work in feeding over 1 000 people daily, and they are well organised in arranging resources, and they are working in complete unity during this crisis,” he said.

Now that school has reopened for Grade 7 and Grade 12 pupils in the province on Monday June 1, the feeding initiative had to find another venue.

Mr Mohamed said it would now take place in collaboration with the non-profit, the Cape Flats Development Association (CAFDA) in Schaapkraal.

If you would like to get involved with the Broken Window feeding initiative, email Mr Mohamed at sybrandparknw@gmail.com