Last week the Lotus River Community Health Centre community gathered to honour Freda Arends, 80, who has been diligently serving meals to hungry and sickly patients at the clinic for 20 years.
But Ms Arends said she was only doing what God had instructed her to do – and would continue to do so.
At the event, the health committee and other stakeholders praised and thanked Ms Arends for her selflessness and for providing a much-needed service without remuneration.
Ms Arends, who also served on the health committee for many years, saw that hungry patients would sit there every day not having anything to eat and decided to start the weekly feeding scheme with her husband, Adam Arends.
Initially they paid for it from their own pockets but over the years, donors came on board and donated loaves of bread and sandwich fillings. At night the couple would prepare the bread to give to those most in need the following day.
Mr Arends died three years ago, but after a short break Ms Arends resumed the feeding scheme.
“God spoke to me 20 years ago and he said I must go feed his people. My husband had the same vision and that’s what we did only through his grace.
“I honour my husband who stood by me all the years and on his deathbed he told me after I mourn I must continue what we started because there is such a great need for it and I will continue doing it until I cannot anymore.
“I thank our God Almighty for the strength to do it and hope I would be able to continue to do it,” said Ms Arends.
Health committee chairperson Imam Ismail Esack said Ma Arends, as she is affectionately known, was at the clinic rain or shine.
“We cannot say ‘thank you’ enough to both Ms Arends and Mr Arends for all they have done for the facility. Their legacy will live on because if you lead a good life people will remember you years after you’ve died and we pray that God keeps her healthy for many more years,” said Mr Esack.
Grassy Park police station commander Colonel Dawood Laing commended the Arendses for their contributions.
“When someone reaches 70 and over it is a blessing from God. She is volunteering to do such good work at her age and I hope God keeps her and blesses her even more. It is said that if you do something for someone else you get a ticket straight to heaven
and I believe she will get one of those tickets.”