How do you look at a child with a curious young mind but an empty stomach, eyes filled with tears, and tell him or her that there is not enough food for them and that they won’t be eating that day? It is a question that haunted Malcolm Poovan and Melvin Moodley, prompting them to find ways to give back to help create a better future for all.
Their non-profit organisation, Feed a Family, is slowly opening new doors to finding hope for a small community. Based in Johannesburg, it was established in 2009 when Poovan and Moodley were approached by a desperate young girl, about 10 years old, who asked why everyone else had something to eat and she did not.
“It hurt to know that I had no answer for her and so I took on a mission to find something for her. But by the time I came back I was told she had faded into the big crowd,” Poovan said. “Ever since then, I have made it my goal to help not just children but families that need it the most.”
Feed a Family strives to put a plate of food on the table for the needy. They work in squatter camps and informal settlements, where poverty rules the ways of living and people are forgotten by society. They set up a working relationship with Fire of God Ministries in a small township in Primrose, eastern Joburg. The church is run by Pastor Mokoena, who is well-known in this community for the heart of gold that he shares with them. Together, the two organisations help to fill the growling, empty stomachs of those in the community.
“A hungry person cannot think straight and they will do whatever they can to find food,” says Poovan, “and we do all that we can to prevent them from even thinking about crime. With enough help, we would love to help them start their own means of providing food with small gardens planted by them.”
At present, the organisation gives milk, to the young and toddlers, and to pregnant women, as well as bread and warm meals to families. It would dearly like to offer more, although as a small and struggling group it is a battle to feed all the hungry and they are in desperate need of support. “We find that it is hard to give everyone a filling meal if there is only so much to give, but we do try by all means to make sure that they all get something in the end,” Poovan explains.
At Christmas 2011, Feed a Family partnered with Nedbank in Norwood, Johannesburg to hand out gifts to the children of Primrose. Poovan says smiles lit up their faces as they received their presents and they had a joyful Christmas.
In 2012, on Nelson Mandela International Day, 18 July, Feed a Family and St Andrew’s School for Girls went to feed people at the Primrose informal settlement. It was an awaken for the school, which witnessed first-hand the amount of poverty so close to home.
“We had the chance to show the youth from both sides that giving back does not mean that you have to have money or a job, especially when it comes to helping the people that surround your area. One family at a time, together we can build a giving and loving world,” Poovan adds.
This year on Mandela Day, the organisation provided 500 warm and filling meals, 500 blankets, 500 food parcels and clothing to people in need. But a lot more can still be done for this community, which has a single tap to supply water for the entire area.
“We would love to help clean up the area too, and educate the people within it on health issues and more, leading us to hopefully one day look back and see the angels in Primrose helping other people in places where they find poverty throughout the world.”
Feed a Family is calling for donations – just R15 will feed an entire family for a day. Volunteers are welcome, as are more sponsors. “Help us feed a family, let’s all do a little and make a big difference. Many of us pray before we eat, thanking God for the food you are about to eat and you pray for God to feed the needy. Now we have a chance to actually do something about it,” reads the Feed a Family website.
You can commit to feeding one family for one day a month, every month, for R15 a month. A large number of people in this community are unemployed and are in desperate need of nourishment. To donate or help in any way, email email@example.com or call 071 853 1413 or 074 311 7096.