A team of Cape Town police officers spend their weekday mornings feeding the homeless community, and say there has been a drop in crime since their feeding programme began.
The team is led by Captain Ezra October, Head of Communication at SAPS. Together they distribute food to those most in need across the City. Ladles of Love, a volunteer run soup kitchen dedicated to feeding hungry people, visited the team to shine a spotlight on their service.
In the video, October explains that he is inspired by people, and wanted to make a difference amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Every weekday morning, him and his team serve pap to homeless communities. They also provide food to Vista High School, where the majority of students are from underprivileged townships.
What began as small way to help communities in need has led to even greater results. According to October, there has been a remarkable drop in crime statistics among this group of people since this outreach began. They believe the statistics have dropped because people are less desperate to resort to crime to survive, now that they are provided daily nourishment.
“That was always one of the things at the back of my mind, ‘I wonder what is the impact we are making’, till I heard some of the guys saying to us, ‘Captain, you won’t believe me. This pap, it fills us up, it means we’re not hungry and if we’re not hungry it means I won’t go do crime.'” October says in the video.
He also says that they were greatly inspired by Ladles of Love, and wouldn’t be able to do what they do without this organisation.
“There is a large homeless community in Cape Town – recent surveys suggest the total number is in excess of 7000 people living life on the streets. With less than 2500 beds available for these people, the problem becomes obvious. And, with figures like these to look at, it can be hard to see how we can possibly make a difference,” wrote Ladles of Love on their website.
“Through our soup kitchens, we provide a platform for people who care to come together to feed the hungry and make a difference. A bowl of soup may not sound like much, but it’s a lifeline to some.”
Since lockdown started, community needs have been increasing daily. Ladles of Love has provided 1.2-million sandwiches and over 227 tonnes of bulk produce and groceries to its growing network of beneficiaries that are all non-profit or community organisations. Ladles of Love founder Danny Diliberto says that this equates to the provision of over 2.5-million meals that have been prepared and/or distributed since March 20.
Ladles of Love has recently moved operations to Sun Exhibits at GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World. The venue will be used as a distribution centre to facilitate the provision of food to economically impacted communities across the Cape Peninsula during the COVID-19 crisis.
If you would like to support Ladles of Love, please contact them on [email protected] for information regarding donating or volunteering.