DESPITE having her own financial difficulties, Denise John, the founder of the non-profit organisation, Get Giving Foundation, has continued to provide meals, four times a week, for 700 people in Malabar and Parsonsvlei, to ensure that people do not go to bed hungry.
In January 2015, John began helping a friend with her newly established soup kitchen, which offered meals to people in the community twice a week.
Unfortunately, in May the same year, owing to personal reasons, John’s friend decided to close her soup kitchen.
Despite having to work various jobs at the time to support her family, John, who was aware of the need for a soup kitchen in the community, established her own feeding scheme in October 2015, from her home in Malabar.
“When I started the project, it was important for me to be able to provide at least two meals a week to those who were under financial pressure and, in turn, lighten their load,” said John.
“I believe that this project is my duty and I hope to motivate and inspire others.
“I also want to show the community that there are people who care about them and that they are not alone.”
With the determination to feed those in need more often, John began providing meals four times a week in October last year.
Apart from feeding people from her house, John also delivers meals to the elderly, the physically disabled and shack dwellers in Parsonsvlei, who are not able to travel to her house.
Operating the soup kitchen has however, not always been an easy task.
John said she does not always have transport to deliver the food to the various people and cooking can often use quite a lot of electricity.
Despite receiving donations from various donors, John said the need in the community was great, but help was often very limited.
“No child or adult should go to bed hungry. Aiding this community will mean providing a better future for those who have often let go of the hope of any kind of change,” she said.
According to John, some of the issues which plague the community are poverty, unemployment, drug abuse and physical abuse.
“Most of the people living in my community are unemployed, not because they don’t want to work, but because they lack the skills needed, which ultimately results in poverty. There is also drug abuse among teenagers and adults which leads to physical abuse at home.
“Our organisation wants to help with these various issues as well,” said John.
Aside from her feeding scheme, earlier this year, John opened her home to allow at least 30 learners to make use of her Wi-Fi to do their homework after school or on Saturdays.
She currently only has one long table for some of the children to work on and only a few chairs, while the rest must do their homework while standing.
Looking towards the future, Denise hopes to build an area on her own property where the youth of her community can have access to an entertainment area, as well as an improved area to do their homework.
“My hope for the youth is to keep them off the street by providing a safe area for them to develop the necessary skills to make a better life for themselves. I also want to provide an area for them to be able to interact with their friends in a positive manner, away from the negative influences of gangsterism and drugs,” said John.
She is hopeful that she will receive more donations towards the soup kitchen and stationery supplies for the children.
“People who have already contributed to the organisation and who would like to support will be positively impacting on the lives of hundreds of people who struggle daily to provide the most basic of human needs to their families which is food,” said John.
For more information contact Denise John on 073 791 5113.
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