Crying Pastor’s soup kitchens in need of help

Crying Pastor Raymond Davids, 68, from Grassy Park, died from Covid-19 complications

The death of a community activist, known as the Crying Pastor because of his caring ways, has left six Hanover Park soup kitchens in the lurch.

Raymond Davids, 68, from Grassy Park, died from Covid-19 complications on Saturday January 30, after a three-week stay at the Mitchell’s Plain Hospital of Hope, in Lentegeur.

When lockdown started, Mr Davids set up the six feeding stations. He gave women pots to cook food for their neighbours and often used his own pension to buy ingredients, according to his wife, Maylene, who said her husband had lived for the poor and destitute.

The Athlone-born activist helped gangsters and drug addicts to turn their lives around, and he also spent time working with special-needs children in America. According to his wife, he was called the Crying Pastor because he shed tears for the plight of gangsters.

“The children used to call him Pastor Rainbow because they could not say Raymond and it has just taken off,” she said.

“He had a heart for the gangsters. When people rejected them, he would talk to them and encourage them to change their lives, feed them. He used to say even gangsters and drug addicts are hungry.”

Ms Davids said the feeding scheme she and her husband supported fed 2500 people twice a day each week, across the six soup kitchens. Food had also been donated to the residents of Ryburg Terrace for the aged in Hanover Park.

“The women in their communities would cook the food and dish up, while we would collect donations and ensure they have ingredients,” she said.

“He used his own pension to go buy whatever was needed for the soup kitchens.”

Ms Davids said her small business had also been used to keep the kitchens running.

She wrote a letter to the hospital staff, thanking them for making her husband’s stay comfortable, bearable and dignified.

“Too often,” she wrote, “impeccable service such as the service received at this facility goes undocumented, as the emphasis is often placed on the bad service, which is often a lot less than the good service.”

Mr Davids completed a theology course before leaving for America. He attended the Calvary Baptist Mission Church in Hanover Park and later started preaching independently. He is survived by his four children, six grandchildren and his wife. Two of his children still live in America.

For more information call Ms Davids on 079 159 1126.