The sad sight of poor children playing at the Dumpy Adams Sports Complex all day without food touched Samantha Alexander’s heart, and she has initiated a feeding scheme from her house since the lockdown started.
Alexander, who feeds children by day and fights crime by night as she is part of the Mlungisi Community Policing Forum, said she started the feeding scheme because she too grew up poor and understood what it felt like not to have anything.
“My husband and I started off by providing food parcels to elderly people in the community and in homes where there was no income, as everyone did when the lockdown started. However, I realised after seeing children as young as six years old playing at the Dumpy all day without food and sometimes sniffing glue, that something needed to be done.”
Alexander said she initially got support that enabled her to distribute food parcels from the Queenstown sheriff’s office, and later from churches, businesses and individuals.
“I noticed the food parcels drive did not reach all the people it was intended for, especially the children and elderly, which is when I decided to cook the food. Children mostly come to enjoy the food and they usually come in small groups and at different times in a day. A few adults come as well and we do not chase them away as this is made for everyone who has no access to food or income.”
The feeding scheme operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.
Alexander said she was saddened by the small children playing at the sports complex, most of whom came from various areas in Komani – including informal settlements – as other people used the place to smoke drugs.
“As a mom and a woman you cannot help but feel downhearted by the whole situation. The lockdown also played a huge role in children going hungry because people lost jobs. Those who used to do informal work to put food on the table could no longer do so because of the lockdown restrictions.”
She said as much the lockdown played an important role in flattening the curve of the virus, it created many problems for many families, especially in relation to violence against women and children.
“Some children probably play the whole day, not because there is no food at home, but to run away from the violence. This virus has frustrated so many people and created so many abusers due to the frustration of losing jobs and other issues. As active community members we need to assist where we can, and I am doing my bit with the children and elderly people.