#LockdownSA: Limpopo spaza owner feeds homeless people
“We started in May, and so far, we have prepared at least forty kotas a month, worth R12 each. We are hoping for the numbers to increase as we continue with the program,” says Themba Mathe, shop owner in Khujwana village, Limpopo.
While homeless people face many challenges from limited access to healthcare, shelter, violence and hunger, Themba Mathe is determined to solve the latter with his initiative called #BreakfastWithHomeless. The fast-food outlet owner distributes food to homeless people in his community, and says he wants to share what little he has with people who need it the most.
Mathe, who hails from Khujwana village outside Tzaneen says that witnessing the dire situation of the homeless, especially during Covid-19 lockdown, drove him to establish the program.
“The idea came about after realising that homeless people are starving, and that, with the advent of coronavirus it must be difficult for them to get something to eat. After a discussion with my business partner, we agreed to feed the homeless around Tzaneen with the little we have,” says Mathe.
The spaza owner indicated that at least 120 Kotas have been served over the past three months.
“We started in May, and so far, we have prepared at least forty kotas a month worth of R12 each. We are hoping for the numbers to increase as we continue with the program,” Mathe notes.
“We give them a kota and cooldrink. We understand that this in not much, because a person cannot eat once a day. However, during the day of our visit, they won’t be wondering where their next meal will come from. This is all about their survival,” he explains.
Thankful for support
Despite making an estimated profit of R1 500 in a month, Mathe isn’t deterred in giving back to the community.
“I’m not making that profit. I roughly make R1 500 a month and is through that money that I have to help my brothers on the streets, and also provide for my wife and kid. I’m thankful of the support I get from my family, friends such as the local clothing brand WAEV, and also Black and White Picture who have aided me along this journey. Without them, this would have been impossible,” Mathe says.
Nutritious meals planned
There are plans underway to improve the initiative to include a nutritious meal once a week.
“In a long run, we plan on making it a weekly event, and move away from feeding them with fast food but make it more nutritious by serving them with proper meal such as porridge and meat or vegetables,” he says.
“Although it’s going to prove challenging, we are determined to make it happen and we urge people who are willing to give without expecting something in return, to come through and assist us. It’s not about being rich, or having lot of money. You have to share what little you have with the community.” – Health-e News