The Lions Club of Athlone donated a 100-litre pot of pasta to dialysis patients at Groote Schuur Hospital for Mandela Day.
The food was made by the Invisible Hands non-profit organisation, and the hospital’s nurses also made up hampers of rice, beans, sugar, spaghetti, and maize meal for the patients.
Zarina Hendricks, the club’s president, said that the pot of food would feed 350 people.
“When patients receive treatment at the hospital it is important that they have something to eat. It is really important that businesses donate to hospitals because funding has become so limited. They really do need it,” she said.
Social work supervisor and member of the hospital’s facility board Lungi Hlakudi, said: “We are really grateful to Lions Club because patients really go through a lot to come for treatment three days a week for four hours a day while they are on the transplant list for kidneys. The wait for a new kidney can take from three to five years… Some of our patients are unemployed and have kids so they need this. We really need more sponsors. This is not easy for patients.”
Acting head of department for the hospital’s renal unit, Dr Zunaid Barday, said the patients – many of whom struggled to hold down a job because of their illness – also needed help covering the cost of their transport to the hospital three times a week.
“Our patients in this department are really unique because they need to come in so frequently. Costs are high for transportation. While the dialysis can only replace the lost kidney function, they are in need of meals too,” he said.
Dialysis patient Levina Koopman, 47, of Hanover Park, said: “It’s nice to have this on Mandela Day because sometimes there is a need for people who don’t work and don’t receive an income. It is such a blessing for them to get something. Thank you to everyone involved and for always taking care of us.”
Another patient, Natasha Claassen, 41, from Heideveld, said there was a great need for clothing, shelter and toiletries in her community.