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Meet the students that are feeding Braamfontein’s homeless

Meet the students that are feeding Braamfontein’s homeless

by: Khanyani Luhlongwane - 3 October 2017

Lazy, self-centered and selfish, are just some of the words that have been used to describe millennials. Soup Kitchen, a Braamfontein-based feeding scheme for the homeless, started by a group of students is disproving negative perceptions of the Generation Y.

Every Tuesday evening from 5:30pm to 7pm, Moolisa Tlali and his team walk from Constitutional Hill to Smit Street, handing out food and talking to the many displaced people in the area.
Founded in 2006, Soup Kitchen now feeds more than 70 homeless people.

“We realised that, as students, regardless of the different parts of the country we come, for a good four to six years, we are part of the Braamfontein community and we can make a difference by helping the needy with some warm soup and bread,” says Tlali. ​

“The majority of our members are studying at the University of Johannesburg and Wits University and also attend the Holy Trinity Catholic Church,” he adds.

While the organisation started as a Catholic church initiative, it has opened up to include people who are not part of the church.

“Interesting enough, we also have members who are non-Catholic students and a considerable number of working adults who decided to join the group,” he says.​

While the organisation is growing with team members, it is still struggling with finances. Soup Kitchen, which used to be supported by other organisations, is now being supported by the students and church members. “To fund the initiative, we rely mainly on contributions made by the members. Time and again, we get some parishioners who donate to the soup kitchen.​

“We currently cannot feed all the homeless in Braamfontein and Yeoville. In the future, we want to see the initiative grow to other parts of the city and even the rest of the country.

For now, Soup Kitchen has started expanding to Yeoville and Soweto.

​”We hope to see these small groups being more stable than our university-based community which always stops during the holidays, and they can take up a more stable and sustainable model.​​​”

The initiative is an open volunteering initiative. If you would like to join the organisation, visit the Soup Kitchen at 16 Stiemans Street on Tuesdays from 5:30pm to 7pm. You can donate by contacting the Holy Trinity Catholic Church.