Scores of Langa residents, mainly senior citizens and pupils, converged on St Cyprian’s Anglican Church when a group of chefs from the GrandWest Casino served food on Thursday October 26, as part of the Chefs That Care initiative.
More than 1 500 people were fed the scrumptious meal of mince and mixed vegetable casserole with rice, and jelly with custard for dessert.
The initiative was born from GrandWest’s food and beverage team’s desire to use their skills and passion to make a positive impact on the lives of those less fortunate in surrounding communities. Food and beverage manager at GrandWest, Andrew Dietrich, said the initiative has seen the team travel into some of the poorest communities in the province where unemployment, gangsterism, child-headed households and poverty were rife.
With high unemployment in the country, he said, the cost of living had become a challenge.
“As a result, he said, most people struggled to eat a balanced diet.
He said children and the elderly were largely affected and that their quality of life and health were compromised. Mr Dietrich said as chefs they had the ability to make a difference by using their knowledge of food preparation. He said they cooked for various communities every month. Mr Dietrich said all the chefs who were part of this initiative had volunteered to be part of it and wanted to see reaching more people and making a positive contribution in the upliftment of the country. “We need to practise the spirit of giving back.
“Poverty and hardship have no race. We need to emphasise the importance of giving back and it is one of the first steps towards addressing inequalities between the haves and have not.
The looks of gratitude on the faces of those whose lives we have touched is all the inspiration we need,” he said. But the responses of some residents proved that it’s usually not possible to please everyone. Resident Nonceba Vaalboom said she was glad that the chefs had thought of them but she felt that the small cup of food they had been given, was not enough.
She said this was not a decent meal and that she had expected something more meaningful.
Her comments were echoed by another resident Magareth Kula who said: “We thought this was going to be a decent meal.”
Reverend Zwelibanzi Antoni, said people had started queuing before the chefs arrived, which illustrated the dire levels of poverty.
He noted that while this might have been a drop in the ocean, it was better to have helped some, than none at all. He said the church ran a soup kitchen which served no fewer than 200 people every day.