There were treats for Manenberg children at a Mandela Day feeding scheme on Saturday July 18.
The Beitul Fuqaarah Welfare and Feeding Scheme, a non-profit organisation in Manenberg, distributes food twice a week, and on Saturday, more than 400 beneficiaries received a warm meal.
The organisation’s founder, Shameem Daniels, said their priority was to take care of children, the elderly and the disabled.
Beitul Fuqaarah teamed up with Sheikh Abdullah Shafiek Arries, from the Fadak Foundation, a Silvertown-based non-profit organisation. The latter contributed 63 pre-packed meals, fruit, face masks and party packs.
Sheikh Arries said they helped wherever the need was.
“Our organisation is very young. We only registered last year, and the bulk of our work started during lockdown. I just could not sit at home and do nothing. We assist anybody, because hunger knows no religion,” he said.
Mr Daniels said he had started Beitul Fuqaarah four years ago. “Children have always been our priority, and since it was Mandela Day, we wanted to make it special for them.
That is why we gave them party packets, cooldrink and fruit as well. We also handed out masks and sanitisers. We are immensely grateful to our sponsors, because we would not be able to do what we do if not for their assistance. Sometimes we dig into our own pockets,” Mr Daniels said.
His neighbour, Shaeeda de Jongh, helped with the feeding programme on Saturday. She said: “The situation is very desperate. The need is great. It was so sad that we could not accommodate everybody. Some people who arrived when the pots were empty even asked us to scrape the burnt parts out for them – that is the level of desperation.”
Another volunteer, Ranvida Bailey, agreed, saying the need was much greater than it had been before Covid-19 because many people had lost their jobs during lockdown.
“Mr Daniels never lets a child go hungry. I have seen how children knock on his door for food, and he makes sure they get something. These days it is not just unemployed people who need assistance, even those with jobs are earning less and are affected,” Ms Bailey said.
Faiez Jacobs, ANC MP for the greater Athlone area, spoke briefly before the food was distributed.
He said: “Mr Mandela always celebrated children, hence it is only appropriate that we do the same on Mandela Day. They are our future, and, as parents, we must care for them with all that we have. Manenberg also has many good residents, and it is people like Mr Daniels we must show our support to. He does good work in the community.”
Mr Daniels has appealed for assistance to continue the work they do. If you can assist, contact him at 072 057 5357 or Riedewaan James at 082 681 3112.