Helping Hands - Community Outreach
Our response to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic
Helping Hands was initiated in 2020 as a response to the devastating effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on families & the dire need for help with providing food to the destitute.
Helping Hands was formed by the Schoenstatt Sisters of Mary with its headquarters at their Retreat and Training Centre in Constantia, Cape Town. The Centre was and still is used as a depot for collecting the various donations, cooking, packaging and then distributing the items received to the various initiatives.
The staff of Helping Hands are involved with the following initiatives:
1. Supplying ready-made soup & bread to community kitchens – one in Khayelitsha & the other in Lavender Hill, both of which are poverty-stricken areas of the Cape Flats.
The soup being made & kindly donated by the Woodstock Brewery, or, when necessary, by ourselves, to ensure an ongoing supply during these difficult times.
2. Making up 100’s of ‘Jars of Hope’, with all the ingredients for a ready meal which simply needed to be added to boiling water, cooked for 40 mins & providing a wholesome meal for a family of 4.
3. Identifying & registering a list of ‘households in distress’ to which we provided a food hamper on a weekly basis which usually included fresh vegetables & fruit.
4. Continually accessing the needs of those in need and finding ways to assist them.
Helping Hands’ stated mission is to reach those individuals within the community that are currently struggling to put food on the table & who are receiving little or no help from elsewhere.
It has fast become a wonderful way to do something positive for our communities in the City of Cape Town during these extremely tough times & has now expanded to encompass help in the form of equipment, & an appeal for consumables, to assist a frail care centre in Langa which is run by an amazing woman with absolutely no help from the government.
In terms of the main focus being the provision of food to the hungry, we are particularly proud of our angel in the community of Khayelitsha – her name is Sandra. She won the ‘Lockdown Heroes Times Live’ competition which celebrated South Africans who were making a real difference in their communities. Over the past months, she’s provided thousands of warm, nutritious, home-cooked meals to children in her community. We have been doing our best to help make this sustainable.
We also distribute hygiene/toiletry packs – these included, soap, a facecloth, a toothbrush & toothpaste, a mask/buff (lovingly made by the Schoenstatt Sisters), hand sanitiser & a little sweetie surprise!
These initiatives have now been running & sustained since lockdown in 2020 thanks to our generous donors. A Facebook page was created with feedback & thank you letters with photographs sent to donors, thus providing reassurance that all funds have been used for the correct purpose.