678 people were fed on Christmas Day in Cape Town, all thanks to 25 volunteers, Hope Exchange and Ladles of Love
Cape Town, South Africa (10 January 2024) – The Hope Exchange and Ladles of Love made December 25th a day to remember for 678 of Cape Town’s most needy residents, serving them a tasty Christmas lunch and sending them away with the gift of a small chocolate bar each.
Around 25 volunteers – South Africans from around the country as well as visitors from abroad – joined the tireless staff from Hope Exchange and Ladles of Love to treat their guests “as they would treat guests in their own homes”.
The Christmas lunch was a highlight of this year’s #Feed5000 campaign, which runs from December 14 to January 14, with the aim of serving at least as many meals to those in need as they did last year: 12,600.
The Christmas guests, most of whom live on the street or in nearby informal settlements, sat around festively decorated tables in the courtyard at the Hope Exchange in Roeland Street, a stone’s throw from Parliament. Young and old enjoyed a hearty, tasty meal of roast chicken, salads and cake. The mood was of gratitude and festivity despite the presence of Cape Town’s blustery south-easter throughout the day.
Discussions among the volunteers once the crazy few hours of service had passed focused on the fact that the sacrifice of Christmas Day celebrations with friends and family was worth it.
The words of one volunteer seemed to represent most: “The grace and the gratitude of people who live such tough lives, and the big smiles on their faces as they left the Hope Exchange’s gates made me feel part of something so special. I went away feeling very blessed.”
#Feed5000 was launched by the Hope Exchange in 2014 with the aim of serving 5,000 meals over a five-week period when staff at the main feeding scheme in the CBD take a well-deserved break. The campaign, run in association with Ladles of Love, relies on volunteers to prepare and serve a hot, nutritious meal every day. Unlike the Christmas meal, it is usually served as a takeaway. Locals are urged to get involved by volunteering for a few hours to help prepare or serve food or donating funds for ingredients.
Info about #Feed5000 and how to make a donation: https://thehopeexchange.org/feed5000-23-24/
#Feed5000 has grown over the years in response to the dramatically expanding need for daily sustenance and a little hope and love.
“During this season many of us attend several gatherings, which are marked by festivity and an abundance of food. Not so for the homeless. This is why #Feed5000 is imperative for us at The Hope Exchange. The midday meal we provide at this time is often the only food of the day for a homeless person.” – Peter Solomon, Director of the Hope Exchange
The Hope Exchange and Ladles of Love are experts at making a little stretch a long way.
“By donating just R250 you will cover the basics to give one person in need a healthy meal every day in the #Feed5000 period,” says Slundt.
How is that possible, you might wonder.
“R250 is an educated guess, an estimate of the cost of feeding each additional person who joins the queue. However, with this year’s food prices, we are looking at a bigger cost.”
The Hope Exchange and Ladles of Love also made a special meal for the 31st of December and decorated the serving station accordingly.
“We are serving till the 14 of January, and we still need funding to end this marathon where volunteers come out in the hot sun and make it all happen. Our clients are so grateful, so high-spirited despite the circumstances and we all work together.” Says Slundt.
You can donate here: https://thehopeexchange.org/feed5000-donate/
The Hope Exchange is not primarily a feeding scheme. They run various programmes to support people living on the street, with the primary aim of reintegrating them into society and reuniting them with their families. The services offered are focused on helping people to recover from trauma, addiction and other crises, and giving them support as they rebuild their lives.
The Hope Exchange provides the homeless with the opportunity to wash and clean their clothes, receive healthcare, attend life skills training and receive various social care services. These basic services provide a little dignity and build confidence so that they can face the world and start to rebuild their lives.
The #Feed5000 campaign is made possible by the support of donors, sponsors and volunteers. The Hope Exchange invites individuals, companies and organisations to get involved by visiting http://thehopeexchange.org/feed5000-22-23/, calling 074 618 3995 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.