I am one of the volunteers who is involved with distributing food donations from the Methodist Church depot in Plettenberg Bay. There I met Tina Hopf, the lady who comes daily to fetch food for soup kitchens and to collect blankets, clothing, sanitary items, nappies, etc., and last but not least e’Pap in large amounts.
e’Pap is normally donated to creches and cooked for young children as a breakfast porridge. Now, during lockdown it was also handed out to needy families for their children, as well as for old and sick persons in the households.
I was curious how all this was managed by just two tremendously busy and compassionate ladies, Tina and Annie Le Roux.
So they kindly took me along to “help” last Saturday afternoon.They work in the Kranshoek location which is one of eight locations of the poorer communities around Plettenberg Bay. It has got about 10 000 people (the well known Griquas) living close to the coast.
I did not believe my eyes when I saw their fully loaded vehicles – and we were fetching even more fresh food from a hall in Kranshoek! Tina had packed her car with some 200 kg f e’Pap on top of other items. Annie’s bakkie was loaded with some 140 litres of hot soup in large buckets, plus crates of fresh fruit. The soup is prepared by a restaurant in town, The Table, from food donations every week. E-pap was given out in 500 gm packets per child so that children would have a meal for the days on which the soup kitchen in their area would not serve meals. (Soup kitchens operate on different days in different areas across Kranshoek).
So off we went from one street corner to the next to distribute soup, fruit and to many, many hungry children queuing patiently with masks on their small faces, stretching little dirty hands out to be disinfected. Social distancing was difficult and masks were not always fitting firmly, letting us see big smiles and happy faces wherever we stopped. I had thought we would have a central distribution point at one place but no, this was a never-ending trip through the entire location, which is quite large: indeed, children would have needed transport to all come to just one place.
And so, 5 hours later I was eventually dropped at my car again, cold and tired and very humbled by this effort and compassion. How Tina and Annie manage to do this every Saturday on top of their daily distributions of other donations is a miracle to me. Tina simply says: “These children stole my heart – how can I not do this?!” And I agree – we have to care for them as long as their parents are overwhelmed by unemployment and other obstacles. Angela Meister
Madi Butler Rheenendal ARC (Associated Rheenendal Council ) went into lockdown distributing ePap to the preschools in Keurhoek and 50 food parcels to the most vulnerable. We quickly learned that the demand for food due to the Covid19 lockdown was much greater. Through very generous donations from friends, community, farmers and other ngo’s such as ePap, Rotary and KILT, ARC now supports 9 soup kitchens in the Rheenendal area with ePap and soup ingredients and they serve about 5000 meals a week. We are hugely grateful to ePap for their guidance and ongoing support through this crisis.