Love 2 Serve: for the love of humanity

Food distribution to the needy

The gurgling noises of the pouring rain hitting the pavement outside almost matches my inner tears of sorrow as I sympathise with the needy people of the world.

Everywhere I turn, I see organisations appealing for donations. I see NGOs, leaning on the sturdy shoulders of Ramadaan’s great blessings, “cashing in” on this time of the year.

And rightly so. Yemen, Palestine, Syria, Myanmar. Somalia, Malawi, Burundi. Delft, Manenberg, Langa, Khayelitsha. A few names synonymous with poverty, hunger, starvation and in the latter case, crime. There is so much need out there, and yet there is so much affluence just around the corners of each of these places.

We recently visited the people of Belhar and Delft to hand out some food parcels. According to the community member we work closely with, the average income of the people in that area is R531 per month! For most of our households, that sum only covers our monthly bread and milk.

One of the sisters at Delft told me that on Friday she had been crying because they had not even a date to break their fast with at home. They were forced to come to the mosque for something small to fill their bellies.

This sister was so grateful for the meagre parcel of food she received. She, like most of the elderly in the area, has to take care of her grandchildren who are left to the grandparents of the households – as their young parents are not working. One elderly man happily carried away his parcel, telling his friend that he didn’t think they’d have anything to eat in his home that night.

As if the emotions in Delft was not overwhelming enough, we took to the streets of Hanover Park later that day to hand out more packs door-to-door. To say that Allah has tested these people is an understatement.

  • We met a widow who looks after her grandkids and her own down syndrome daughter – not knowing where her next meal will come from.
  • A community member – in need of food herself – cooks for the people around her twice a week, using whatever donations stream in on those days.
  • We met poor people helping other poor people, looking after the neighbour’s kids because they have no one else.

But the real heart-wrencher was when we were introduced to a lady who runs an informal orphanage in the area. She told us about a nearly R100,000 water bill because the city council is dragging its heels in resolving the matter – despite her many attempts to contest it.

We heard about how she mostly only gets help in Ramadaan, and for the rest of the year they struggle to make ends meet.

We heard of how some of the neighbours pick on the orphan kids by reminding them of their poverty, making them feel less than human because of their need.

The next night, we held an iftaar (meal to break the fast) at Delft. The food we cooked for 300 people was not enough. Even if we had cooked for 600 people, it would not have been enough. I can’t imagine how the rest of the team felt having to send some people home without food.

What we did over that weekend will not even make a dent in the needs of the community. It will not even count as a drop in the ocean when compared to the needs of the people of South Africa. It cannot even be mentioned when talking about global poverty alleviation.

But what it did do was change our lives: the lives and hearts of the givers.

Can I forget about these people after Ramadaan has gone? No. They need me to remember.

Will I forget about them? Yes. If I do not make a concerted effort to remember…a sincere intention to carry on with the effort of poverty alleviation, education, and social upliftment in the community.

I implore you, dear reader, to reach out to those in need – wherever you are.

Believe me: your heart needs them more. Soften your heart by helping others. Add value to your time by spending time with the needy. Be of the best of mankind by benefitting others. Love to serve for the love of humanity.

This post was written by, and published on behalf of, Love2Serve Charities – a small, Cape Town-based relief organisation whose mission is to serve those in need.

To find out more about the organisation’s projects, and how you can assist, visit Love2Serve on Facebook.

For readers outside of Cape Town or South Africa, you can contribute by bank deposit:

  • Bank: First National Bank (South Africa)
  • Account name: Love2Serve Charities
  • Account number: 627 5707 7089
  • Reference: Your name + project you’re donating to

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