| WATCH | Gift of the Givers helps Touws River residents as unemployment rate soars | WATCH | Gift of the Givers helps Touws River residents as unemployment rate soars
  • Gift of the Givers handed out 300 food parcels to residents of Touws River on Wednesday.
  • The railway town is experiencing high levels of unemployment after major businesses shut their doors due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • This was Gift of Givers’ second visit to the area. 

Residents of Touws River in the Western Cape were in good spirits after receiving food parcels from Gift of the Givers on Wednesday.

“During these times we have learnt to work with very little. I am grateful for the help,” Rachel Nel told News24.

READ | What municipality hadn’t done in years, Gift of the Givers did in just three days

Nel lost her job at the Aquila Private Game Reserve last year due to the Covid-19 national lockdown. As the sole breadwinner in her family of four, she said the income loss had made life tough.

“I have been blacklisted and the debtors call every day looking for their money. I don’t even know what to tell them anymore,” she said.

Dalene van der Merwe, who runs the local tuckshop, said community members were taking drastic measures to make ends meet.

“With the high unemployment rate, residents turned to crime to feed their families,” Van der Merwe explained.

Local soup kitchen

Over the past couple of months, she has been inundated with food requests, so she decided to pay it forward and open a soup kitchen.

In the beginning, her initiative – Compassionate Hearts Soup Kitchen – catered for children.

“But over time more adults came to us for food,” she said.

With the increased demand, the soup kitchen quickly ran out of food. 

Van der Merwe then turned to humanitarian aid group Gift of the Givers for assistance.  

“We decided to reach out to the community of Touws River to provide nutritious food packs that contain essential goods,” Gift of the Givers project manager Ali Sablay told News24.

Sablay and his team donated 300 food parcels to families in the area and gave the soup kitchen a bakkie load of ingredients.

“So we are here today to bring some relief to these people and to show that there are South Africans that care for them.”

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