Cape Town station’s small businesses come together to feed the homeless
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Cape Town station and the deck is a hive of activity, with commuters catching trains and taxies and small businesses from tailors, barbers to sweets and cellphone data sellers doing a booming trade.
But the industrious area is home to a large population of people who live on the street and beg in the hope that a kind passer-by might throw a coin or two their way.
But on Thursday these hungry and souls can look forward to a meal as some of the men and women from the small businesses and vendors pool their resources to provides a hot meal for some of Cape Town’s homeless.
The feeding scheme was started by two small business owners who took it upon to start feeding some of the hungry people.
Mahmood Abrasa said he has been cooking and serving homeless people whenever he had the means. He has notice that with the Covid-19 pandemic the number of destitute people swelled.
Abrasa said he have been involved in feeding the hungry for over a decade and shy away from publicity. “We are doing it because people are hungry," he said.
His partner, who asked not to be named, runs a tuckshop nearby and said he decided to help Abrasa after seeing the impact of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions on those who lived on the streets.
“We (all) came together, one (person) gives an onion and (another) gives meat so it become easy for us.
“Just before 5pm you will see a long queue here.
“There is a lady who sells fruit and vegetables and she gives out potatoes and people from the (other) tuckshops would contribute,” he said.
Geraldo Davids, who lives on the streets, said he survives by helping people to park their cars and to assists people carry groceries to the taxi rank for small change.
“I feel actually glad about these people who are coming from far to help us with food.
“They feel for us and they care for us and give us something to eat to fill our stomachs,” said Davids.
“This place is better. Here their food is much better,” said Hennie Botha, another homeless person.
Faizel Bhawoodien, a station deck vendor, said he donated food once a month towards the scheme as he made a little profit from his business.
"We see poverty on a daily basis (and) when the Covid-19 started, we were not trading but when we came back we could see that people have nothing and all the street kids were suffering. They looked even worse," said Bhawoodien.
Spokesperson for the department of Social Development, Joshua Chigome, said it was the municipal mandate to help homeless people with basic services.
“It was agreed to at the Disaster Management Provincial Joint Operations Centre that municipalities are responsible for homeless people not in shelters, and for providing alternative accommodation…
“Where needed, Social Development will assist in augmenting these municipalities’ interventions as it relates to food security,” he said.