A Sans Souci Girls’ High School pupil’s passion for helping others has led to her start her own charity to feed the poor.
Anastasia Bartes, 16, has helped out with school feeding projects since she was in primary school, but she has gone a step further in the past year. The Grade 11 pupil from Elsies River, hands out 350 food parcels at the end of every month to the community of Egoli, Philippi. The food is sponsored by Food for Life, which runs feeding schemes across the country.
In 2019, she was introduced to Food for Life, by then principal Ruschda O’Shea. She started going with the former principal to hand out food on a Saturday. After seeing the need and how families were struggling, she decided to start handing out food in Egoli with the help of her family.
“I choose this community because there are not a lot of organisations that work in the area. My heart goes out to the families in the area, who are really struggling,” she said.
She registered her organisation, Anastasia Caring Foundation, last year.
Anastasia said she was inspired by her primary school teacher and her mother, a cancer survivor.
“In primary school I had a teacher who I could go to to speak about things happening in my life or if I was having a hard time. My mother had found out she had cancer at the time and my teacher was always there for me. She encouraged me to put my name forward to be a prefect in Grade 7, which was where I started helping out with feeding schemes,” she said.
Anastasia said she always had a heart for giving and helping others and could not think of a more fitting way to spend her free time.
“It feels good to know that a family has a proper meal when we hand out the parcels, even though we would like to do more food hand-outs and also work in my area, where families are also struggling,” she said.
Grade 11 head Cathy van Heerden said it was not every day that a teenager volunteered to help, especially on a long-term basis.
“Anastasia has proven significant commitment, interest and enthusiasm in making this feeding scheme work. She is a superstar, an inspiration to us all. We also need to recognise and thank her parents, teachers and community members who have guided her along her way,” she said.
Anastasia said she was thankful to her parents for their support. If you would like to get involved, email her at email@example.com