Making the difference

LAUREN O’CONNOR-MAY

Begging in their community motivated three women to do something about the situation. So they used the only resources they had – their kitchens and a passion for cooking – to open a soup kitchen.

Valerie Hendricks, Crystal Isaacs and Priscilla Petersen have been neighbours and friends in Eastridge for 25 years. The three shared a love of cooking and catering and a compassion for the children that knocked on their doors daily to ask for food.

“Sometimes these children go to school without lunch,” Ms Petersen said. “They sit hungry the whole day and then when they come home there’s nothing.”

Ms Hendricks said: “Most of the time they come knocking on your door for a piece of bread.”

And it wasn’t only children that came knocking. Sometimes adults would ask for odd jobs in exchange for money.

So six weeks ago the friends got together to brainstorm ideas of what they could do to help.

“Food is our passion,” Ms Hendricks said. “I’m a part-time caterer and we cook for our church.”

Ms Petersen said: “I felt I must feed the community because there was a need.”

So every Thursday they give soup and bread to about 100 people from Ms Petersen’s yard.

And this is no easy feat – the three start early in the day by making the soup in small pots on Ms Petersen’s stove. They then pour the soup over into a 20 -litre pot standing on a small warmer in the yard. When neighbours arrive with their bowls, the women use a plastic jug to dish out the piping hot soup.

To date they have paid for nearly everything out of their pockets, so they are now asking for more sponsors to come on board. It would be simpler if sponsors donated a whole pot of soup but the women are not opposed to cooking from scratch if the ingredients are donatedIf you would like to donate, call Ms Hendricks on 071 700 0141.