CAN has a plan to feed the community

A screen shot of a map showing the feeding stations in Ward 68.

The Community Action Network (CAN) in Retreat and surrounds is hard at work feeding the needy in a structured manner during the national lockdown to curb Covid-19.

The exco members of the group are ward councillors Marita Petersen (Ward 68), Shanen Rossouw (Ward 110), Kevin Southgate (Ward 72) and Gerry Gordon (Ward 67), Mark Solomons of the Retreat Steenberg Civic Assocation, Pastor Malcolm Campbell who is the chairperson of the Can and Gavin Walbrugh of the Steenberg Community Police Forum.

Ms Petersen said their aim was to have a co-ordinated response to the pandemic. 

“Our purpose is to bring leaders and partners together to support the most vulnerable. The project aims to mitigate the spread and relax the movement of the most vulnerable.”

However, she said, no political news or views, no religious news or views, no crime reporting, and no photographs or videos unless cleared with administration are allowed.

The Can project across the city started through the Cape Town Together Facebook page before the lockdown, which started at midnight on Thursday March 26.

The local Can project started when Mr Solomons called Ms Petersen about forming a united leadership during lockdown.

The initiative was started after people were found not to be adhering to the rules of physical distancing and sponsors would sporadically choose an area to donate food for only certain individuals, leaving others with nothing.

Ms Petersen said she then created a WhatsApp group where non-profit organisation leaders, pastors, and councillors could work under one umbrella and making sure that everyone gets fed. “We also hand out care packages including toiletries every week,” said Ms Petersen.

Mark Solomons elaborated on why he approached Ms Petersen: “We picked up a problem with the smaller NPO groups who hand-
ed out food parcels to a certain amount of people. We needed to form a proper structure to feed
the people in an structured manner.”

Mr Solomons said Can’s initiative is still in the planning stages. “However, each of the areas including Lavender Hill, Seawinds, Steenberg, Retreat and more, have feeding stations with NPO leaders manning the station. Everyone of those leaders and church and mosque leaders are on the group chat.”

Mr Solomons said they aimed to pre-cook food. “We would like to make soup, cool it off and freeze it. Then heat up the food before it is delivered.

“We are also in the process of securing factory-supplied packaging at a very good price.

“We want to buy in thousands to put in fridges as it makes it easier to hand over to the community with less interaction.”

“We also have transport in place to deliver these parcels,” said Mr Solomons.

He praised the community who came together to feed the peo-
ple.

“So far we have distributed hot and cold meals. Every day we have delivered meals for example to 38 stations and 40 stations in Ward 68.”

Mr Solomons said their challenge was storage space.

“We need a base or a warehouse to house big donations. The store facility should keep the food fresh before it goes to the different stations.”

Currently they are feeding the community from 9am to 10am, and from 3pm to 5pm.

“We are appealing to companies to work with Can.”

Mr Solomons said due to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s decision to implement the lockdown, the leadership pulled together. “Political parties are working together because he (the president) inspired us and we followed his lead.

The leaders have been working 24/7 and Ms Petersen thanked her team for their hard work.

If you want to sponsor or donate funds to help feed the com-
munity, contact Mr Solomons on 082 258 7944 or Ms Petersen on 071 936 1045 or Pastor Malcolm on 073 687 7284.