About Port Alfred Soup Kitchen
The Soup kitchen was initiated by a group of woman from the Port Alfred Christian Centre during 1998 after an appeal from a local school in our township of Port Alfred was made following reports that some school children had fainted in the classroom after eating paper to “still their hunger pains”. They realised that they needed to step in and take action and started off by feeding 18 children. Within a short period the feeding scheme was extended to three schools in Nemato and in 2002 the Soup Kitchen was registered as an NPO with the name, The Port Alfred Christian Upliftment and Development Centre.
The Soup kitchen quickly outgrew the Church “kitchen” and then operated from Park Rd where it remained until August 2003 when once again they were on the move as these premises were no longer available to them for their use. Debra & Steve then offered the Soup Kitchen free premises at 42 van der Riet Street as they saw a group of willing volunteers doing an amazing service but struggling to find premises to operate from.
During this period an Interdenominational Committee was elected with a major goal in mind of feeding the poor with both food and the gospel as well as attending to their general well being by supplying blankets in winter and clothing on a continual basis.
By 2009 the Soup Kitchen had grown substantially to providing meals for 430 people on a Monday and 800 on a Wednesday. The main “feeding point” was at the Refuse Dump and +- 50 people regularly queued at the Soup Kitchen premises as well. In addition food was being supplied to the many needy families and institutions in the Ndlambe area.
All this was achieved by relying on donations and with the aid of voluntary helpers. With the help of Lotto funding in 2010, 2011, 2012 & 2014 the Soup Kitchen was able to extend its reach even more. Meals were supplied three times per week and another Bakkie was purchased to help collect donations and distribute the food.
We are currently providing some 3000 meals per week. Unfortunately due to the high costs we have now had to reduce the amount of bread and are only providing meals twice weekly as we are heading into dire financial straits. We are anxiously awaiting the results of our last application to Lotto for further assistance.
Meals are being provided most days at the Sikusile Project under the guidance of Tony Bryant one of our Committee Members. Of course, without the help of major sponsors such as Super Spar, Pick and Pay & Buddy’s, the Service organisations and every private individual who give generously of their time and money, the Soup Kitchen would not have been able to help the deeply impoverished as much as they do.
The Soup Kitchen also strives to improve the quality of people’s lives by initiating projects such as Farming God’s Way and holiday programmes for children.
Whilst our main goal is that no-one should go to bed on an empty stomach, we feel we are “more than just a Soup Kitchen”!