Feeding the needs of the community

Porchia van der Vindt, left, has her blood pressure and cholesterol checked by promotion officer for the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, Joshua Fortune.

The Next Level Living Ministries hosted a feeding scheme and wellness day for the Kewtown community on Saturday.

At the event there were jumping castles for the children and the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa conducted blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol checks.

Programme director, Gavin van der Vindt, said the ministry was initiated two years ago with the idea of bringing youth together and offering advice to teens who were faced with social ills such as drug addiction. They were still in the process of registering as a non-profit organisation, he said.

Once a month, the team set up in a community in need and hosts a wellness day. They also hand out food to the community as part of an initiative called Feed My Sheep.

Saturday’s feeding scheme was one of 24 feeding schemes run over the past two years, in areas such as Lavender Hill, Manenberg, and Elsies River.

Mr Van der Vindt explained that every year the team choose three areas to focus on so that they may approach the area holistically.

“We understand that there is another life that we can have, it doesn’t matter in what situation you are in. Because we have experienced these things growing up, we can offer advice to others and be a peer who encourages the next person,” he said.

The organisation depends on sponsorships from other organisations and from the community at large to continue its work.

“We want the youth to know that there is a life after school and that it is possible for them to attend college and university. We also help them to create a CV so that they can apply for jobs,” he said.

Mr Van der Vindt said the team kept motivated by recognising that this was a need in the community.

“We started off with 10 to 15 people and today we are about 500 members on the team who come together and give their all. Our biggest motivation is the love for our Creator. He has changed my life and motivated me to do the same for the next person and that is why we have so much support because they understand that,” he said.

Promotion officer for the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa, Joshua Fortune, said it was very important for people to know their blood pressure, sugar, and cholesterol levels.

“A high blood pressure is a silent killer, one in four South Africans are suffering from high blood pressure and it is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks or strokes,” he said.

He said people should start off with small changes to their lifestyle such as a 30-minute exercise routine, five days a week.

“Walking or running will help, sweating is very important so that you get your heart pumping. What you put in your mouth is also very important, buying fruit is cheaper than a burger. We advise on at least five servings of fruit and vegetables a day,” he said.

He said that one’s salt intake should be minimum.

“Use other types of ingredients to add flavour to your food, and do simple things like removing that salt shaker from the table,” he added.

Resident Amanda Michaels who has been living in the area for 14 years, said it was important for people to know their health status as they sometimes became ill and don’t know why.

“I brought my grandchild
to play here today, this entertainment is nice for the children,” she said

For more information, contact Gavin van der Vindt on 081 281 8129.