Although the government has made food assistance packages available to the poor and needy, those getting social grants don’t qualify and sometimes those grants have to feed a whole family. Many small towns and rural communities are hardest hit. It’s those who fall outside of the qualifications who most need assistance.
“Suddenly, miraculously, a good Samaritan leaned over and handed me a food parcel”. Can you imagine what it must feel like when you haven’t eaten properly for weeks and don’t know where the next meal will come from or any of the items that contribute to one’s basic dignity.
At the beginning of the lockdown Debby Thomson representing Farm Watch and the Victim Support Unit, Christine du Preez from Hlokomela and Hoedspruit Rotary got together to form a Samaritan group prepared to distribute food to those needy people in our community. They have been able to rally many of the farming community and many people from the surrounding estates who have been given the appropriate permits to enable them to contribute and assist in the distribution of food. This is not a free for all. It is a well-organized, well-coordinated group of people who ensure that everyone who needs help gets it. There is a register recording all the people that truly need assistance and when food and hygiene items are distributed, normally on a weekly basis.
Covid-19 rules around distancing and hand washing or sanitizing are adhered to rigorously. The fun collection of lovingly handmade masks worn by this group of Samaritans is quite astonishing.
Last week the group was presented with 700 food boxes all packed and ready for distribution from an external charity which really boosted their efforts.
While flipping through the group’s WhatsApps this morning I found some wonderful messages:
“Distributed today- 145 food parcels, 2 bakkie loads of naartjies, 1 bakkie load of oranges, 10 crates of mealies, plus lots of eggs.”
“Hi all I cooked up a large batch of basic tomato pasta sauce with herbs and garlic yesterday.”
You can read into this that our Samaritan community is really busy but I get the distinct impression there is hard work and lots of fun in the process of looking after our needy community.