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Food Donations at the Core of Helping People make a U-Turn

Finding parking at U-Turn Homeless Ministries in Claremont, Cape Town, can be challenging. Thankfully, a very helpful gentleman, who we assumed must be a permanent staff member, came to our rescue when we visited them recently.

Abraham, who we would later learn is not a permanent staff member but one of their many clients, is a walking testament of why we should continue to support organisations like U-Turn Homeless Ministries with surplus food donations. Their work is focused on equipping people with skills and is critical in a city that is home to over 14,000 people who experience homelessness.

“We help homeless people integrate back into society,” says Fernando Classen who joined the team just over a month ago. Fernando is the Service Manager at U-Turn’s Power House centre located close to Main Road and is proud to be working at an organisation that has been making a difference for over 25 years.

“We are really grateful to FoodForward SA that supplies the bulk of the food we need to help feed our clients that are part of the first phase of our programme.” For six days a week, at no charge, homeless clients can enjoy two meals a day that includes breakfast as well as hearty meal at 4pm.

During phase 1 of the programme, in addition to participating in peer sessions, clients also get to make use of the shower facilities on the premises and can purchase second-hand clothing from their onsite store. To make a purchase, clients need to earn vouchers by participating in, among others, street cleaning initiatives facilitated in partnership with the Claremont City Improvement District.

During phase 2 of the programme, U-Turn clients are assigned a social worker and a life coach, and if applicable rehabilitation support. They are placed at a shelter and also get to participate in more skills development initiatives like Living Roots, a nursery that trains clients to grow and sell plants, and Build Back, a carpentry skills development initiative.

During phase 3 of the programme, clients live in one of the three residences or homes, earn a stipend and are ready to apply for jobs and are on their way and be self-dependent.

“It feels nice to look into a mirror again,” says Abraham who has been an active drug addict for 28 years and who had to search through bins for food. Abraham also reconnected with his wife and they look forward to renewing their vows this year.


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