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Resident reaches out to the community with feeding projects

With the number of homeless residents in the area growing, one woman and her family hope to make a difference.

Caroline Setsiba contributes to the community by initiating feeding projects with the help of her children and grandchildren.

As a member of the Rand West City Municipality’s communication unit, she also uses her free time to help out those in need. She explained they have several spots where they dish out food to the homeless and the poor.

The project started a few years ago on a smaller scale, but last year she was able to expand with the assistance of some of her colleagues. Around July, she started at full scale.

“I appreciate the voices that heard us and encouraged us, they understood our vision and intention with this project,” said Caroline.

The inspiration behind the project was her political background. She spoke about some of the people she calls comrades who were part of the country’s liberation. They ended up on the streets and eventually disappeared. Even though they have no idea where they ended up, they hope someone is taking care of them.

“I feel obliged to ensure I’m able to make a difference in their name. Also as a community leader, I just feel that we can’t sit comfortably in our homes and eat when we know about a kilometre or a few metres away there’s somebody out there in the street, hungry,” she said.

They target those who sleep on the streets, feeling that they are frequently undermined and humiliated. She admitted that some people struggle with substance abuse. Some have gone through a divorce, some are orphans and in other cases, family squabbles were forcing them to leave home, and some are even students. One of the elderly gentlemen she helps is a highly intelligent person who worked as a lawyer once. In other cases, there are young women and women with small children.

With some of the people on chronic medication, she explains serving them a hot plate of food is better than scrambling for food in the trash. She learnt from several of these street people that the dustbins do not contain much food, thus they are unable to eat.

A large concern for her is Covid, from which she feels the country has never fully recovered.

“People lost jobs, companies closed and we know it’s heavy for the government because it was on a large scale. Now these are the people who are struggling. We want to appeal to everyone who can help. Even if you can afford to buy three loaves of bread and look who is around your area and in need, it is good. That way we can be able to deal with the issue of poverty because now it becomes a cycle.”

They serve between 120 to 150 people daily. Her children would start cooking in the morning and she would then use her lunchtime, which she combines with her teatime, to go and dish out the food at the various locations.

They are in the process of registering their organisation as people have shown interest in contributing.

She added people in need can be found everywhere, even in affluent areas such as Greenhills and Homelake.

If you would like to become involved, contact Caroline on 067 814 1679.

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