The Ladles of Love charity has moved its operations from the GrandWest Sun Exhibits Hall to a warehouse in Epping.
“What started off as a temporary distribution centre, became the foundation from where we grew Ladles of Love into the larger organisation it is today,“ says Danny Diliberto, the organisation’s founder and director.
“It’s amazing to think that food for over 18 million meals has been dispatched from GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World.”
The non-profit organisation will now run its operations from 17 Hewett Avenue in Epping 3.
“Today is a big day for us, both sad and happy at the same time. Sad in that we move out of GrandWest Sun Exhibits Hall, our huge haven for the past 15 months and bid farewell to our incredibly kind friends Mervyn Naidoo, Nikki Botha, Dave Lombard, and Melaney Simonhoff and team,” said Mr Diliberto.
GrandWest marketing manager Nikki Botha said the closure of so many of GrandWest’s entertainment facilities due the pandemic had made it possible for them to offer Ladles of Love, which had needed bigger premises, a temporary home.
“Continued lockdown restrictions made it possible to extend the stay a bit longer,” she said.
“We could not be more pleased with the incredible way they have used our facilities to bless and enrich the lives of so many people. We are immensely proud to have shared a part of the Ladles of Love journey, and we wish them every success in their new home,” she said.
The warehouse in Epping will act as a distribution centre for the repurposing of essential items, bulk food and fresh produce for dispatch to the organisation’s network of 300 community soup kitchens.
It would house “an incubation kitchen which will be used for food enterprise development opportunities for entrepreneurs” as well as “an agri-processing unit which will package, sift and sort fresh produce from urban farmers to be routed to suburban households and restaurants/hotels,” said Ladles of Love marketing director Alison McCutcheon.
Ms McCutcheon said the organisation’s fondest memory at the Sun Exhibits Hall was Mandela Day 2020 when it had set out to break a world record for the most sandwiches made in one hour.
“When the trucks just kept rolling into Sun Square and the crates into Sun Exhibits, we had 304 000 sandwiches in all. It was joy and jubilation, vuvuzelas trumpeting and everyone jumping for joy, as we smashed the world record to smithereens,” she said.
“It was only due to the sponsorship of GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World and their support that we could make the impossible, possible,” she said.