Feeding the homeless with dignity

Volunteers at St Margaret's Church are in front, Thandi Moupo and Veronica Janse van Rensburg. Back: Milan Jordan, Belinda Jordan, Rachel Thomas, Noreen Lindhorst, Gertrude Raadt, Bridgette Raadt, Daniel Jordan and Steven Lindhorst. PHOTO: SEITHATI SEMENOKANE

How often can a homeless person say he or she sat down at a table for a meal? Well, for about 80 homeless men living in the Bloemfontein CBD, this becomes a reality every Friday morning at 11:00.

Volunteers at St Margaret’s Church at the corner of Alexander Avenue and Raymond Mhlaba Street come together to offer their time.

Although the church is 140 years old his year, the soup kitchen has been running for just over a year. “I started the soup kitchen in honour of my late husband. We started with a few homeless coming, and it became bigger and bigger, but this winter they are really hungry, and they tell one another through word of mouth. We even had a Christmas lunch for them. We used the monetary donations we received throughput the year and saved that for the special occasion,” said Noreen Lindhorst.

Although they now receive bread donations, in the beginning they would use money from their own pockets. The men then sit at laid out tables and chairs for their warm meal. “We give them each bread, soup, chips, sweets a fruit or boiled eggd to go, all served on porcelain/ ceramic cups and saucers, and a serviette. We also taught them to take pride in the area they sit down in and to help clean up afterwards. Everyone puts his used dishes on the kitchen trolley and help pack up the tables and chairs,” said Gertrude Raadt.

Raadt added that they want to instil pride in the men so that they feel the joy of being waited on and being served, and seeing them so thankful, fills them with gratitude.
St Margaret’s also have a sewing club which meets at the church every Monday from 9:00 until 12:00, to sew clothes for little children from fabrics donated to them.

If you would like to help out in any way, whether it be with your time or through donations, residents can go to directly to church, or email Noreen Lindhorst at noreenlindhorst73@gmail.com.

Seithati Semenokane