DRC street kids in Swakop get daily sustenance with help from O&L hotel and grocer
Almost 500 marginalised street children in Swakopmund’s DRC squatter camp depend on two soup kitchens for a large part of their daily sustenance. This crucial community service was disrupted by the Erongo lockdown but the needs of the children continued.
Two companies in the O&L stable, Pick ‘n Pay and the Strand Hotel came together last week to support Ann’s Angels and Christina’s Soup Kitchen so that they can carry on giving food to the DRC children. Only, this time the meals had to be prepared and taken to every shack where a street child stays.
The Executive Chef at the Strand Hotel, Dallas Orr spearheaded the movement to collect whatever they could find in the hotel’s kitchens, and combined forces with the O&L Group’s retailer, Pick ‘n Pay, to supplement the groceries.
The relationship between the hotel and Christina’s Soup Kitchen had developed over several years. With the hotel now virtually dormant, Orr realised there is a huge opportunity to continue helping the soup kitchen so that the children can still get their daily meals. This soup kitchen provides for more than 200 children while another soup kitchen, Ann’s Angels care for about 265 children.
The DRC informal settlement where these children grow up, has no electricity and water has to be fetched from community taps. The two soup kitchens operate against overwhelming odds, adding to the vulnerability the children has to live with every day.
“We pretty much raided the pantry of Farmhouse Deli, Ocean Cellar and the Brewer and Butcher of all perishable and dry foods and got the creative juices flowing by using all that was available to make a heart-warming soup,” said Chef Orr.
The food was then taken to the soup kitchens from where it was distributed to the needy children under the protection of the police.
“We visited two lovely ladies today who feed the needy kids in the DRC area of Swakopmund. Due to the food supply delivered today, we decided that it is in everyone’s best interest to rather give them the tools they need to provide the magic they do. We are pleased to have had the support of officers from the Mondesa Police Station to ensure everyone’s safety and assist us in keeping onlookers at bay. Trust me, we needed it,” said the good chef afterwards.
This is where Pick ‘n Pay entered the scene donating groceries so that the soup kitchens can continue to prepare meals on their own, as and when these are required. The retailer also donated a large amount of clothing for the kids.
Pick ‘n Pay’s Regional Manager, Angelo Morkel said the clothing is distributed weekly alongside the rations which are prepared daily. “We know that the little we give is much more than many people in our community have at home, and it may just be what they need to survive the lockdown,” he observed.
Caption: Standing at the back, from the left, Herbert van Schalkwyk, Head Chef at FarmHouse Deli, one of the in-house restaurants at the Strand Hotel, Chef Dallas Orr, the Executive Chef at the Strand Hotel, and Dr. Athol Mclean. In the front on the left is Judith Awaras, the daughter of Christine Awaras (right). Christine is the owner of Christine’s Soup Kitchen.