Serving the homeless

Shofar volunteers

Members of the Shofar charismatic church are among those rallying to help the homeless during the national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19.

The 11-year-old church has branches in Durbanville and one in Dirkie Uys Street, Bellville, known as the Urban Home for the Homeless. 

Boston residents Anoeska and Barney de Villiers are co-ordinators for the Urban Home for the Homeless. 

“We have a team of about 30 people among 55 volunteers from other churches in the area that help deliver food to the homeless people that attend the MES SafeSpace in Bellville and the Radio Tygerberg site in Parow,” says Ms De Villiers.

“On Sundays, we also host 10-minute sermons by priests from the various churches. The real highlight for us is that we have a network of 15 churches and there have been multiple cases where we helped reunite homeless people with their families.”

Ms De Villiers says most of the donations and resources of the Urban branch come from the Durbanville Shofar Church at 21 Pastia Street in Rosenpark.

“We have been so blessed by so many people dropping off donations on a daily basis which we use to help those in need. One day last week, we ran out of styrofoam cups so I put a message on the Boston Spirit group and within minutes we got donations from all over and were able to continue our work.” 

Shofar volunteer Mi-Jeanne Kotze made masks to hand out to the homeless. 

Ms Kotze, who is living in Parow with her parents during the lockdown but is a Somerset-West resident, said: “I became aware of the work being done by MES and Shofar through a friend and I decided to volunteer my time to help them. While working there, I discovered that there was a need for masks so I took it upon myself to make some.”

Ms Kotze was unable to buy material from shops due to the lockdown but by gathering what she could at home and from family she was able to meet her goal. 

“I was able to get cloth and linen at home, while I borrowed a sewing machine from my aunt to be used together with the machine and overlocker that I already had. Together with my helpers, my mom Jermene and dad Eddie, we managed to make 750 masks. We delivered those and saw that there was a greater need so we went back to our work stations and managed to make extra with the cloth we had left, so the grand total came out to 817 masks.”

Ilse Maartens, branch manager of MES Cape Town, confirmed Shofar’s assistance at their SafeSpace and also thanked volunteers such as Ms Kotze for all their hard work.