by STAFF REPORTER
Spending days alone in a small bedroom feeling confused, without visitors, unable to speak, suffering from arthritis and unable to use her hands.
This is the sad story of one of Food4Futures’ new clients who suffers from a devastating health condition. The local hunger alleviation non-profit organisation recently started a new project, Care4Community, which provides support to people with physical or emotional health conditions.
Care4Community visits their new clients once a week for a chat and a check-in about what medical attention they may need. Sharing fruit and biscuits and bringing a supply of adult nappies (diapers), Care4Community volunteers also bring food parcels, books and board games.
The project started with three clients just a few months ago, and now has five. With the government’s health department providing little or no support for stroke survivors and wheelchair users, Care4Community is likely to be in huge demand as news of the project spreads throughout Makhanda.
The kind-hearted and considerate Care4Community manager, Felicia Nkataza, who is passionate about caring for the new group.
“I like people very much. Helping people is what I really like to do. It was my dream to become a social worker one day but because of a lack of funds when I was young, it did not happen and I think this project is the one that gives me that experience” Nkataza said.
She was delivering a food parcel to a Food4Futures client when she was alerted to two adults living nearby, both in wheelchairs after suffering tuberculosis of the spine and a stroke, respectively.
“Both were in great need of adult nappies and fruit” says Nkataza. With adult nappies costing up to R900 per month, many impoverished wheelchair users cannot afford them and live without dignity.
Other clients have been living with calamitous health conditions since childhood and have nobody to care for them now that they are pensioners.
“Our visitors also really enjoy the time we spend together. This is often a very lonely time for them as they spend many hours alone” said Ntakaza.
“But we really need help because the funds that come in, we mostly use for food parcels. Now there is this new project that is also desperately needed in the community and we need funding for fruit and adult nappies” she added.
This is the fourth project that the local non-profit organisation, Food4Futures, founded by Mary Birt, has taken on. Food4Futures also buys food from wholesalers on discount and distributes it to 180 families in need. They also pay for ID’s for people who cannot afford one, at a cost of R140 each. The organisation’s Parking4Parcels initiative sells vouchers to the public which can be given to parking attendants and exchanged for food at the Food4Futures office.
“We would like to do more for the community but we need funds” says Ntakaza.
(Food4Futures is at 2 Dundas Street, Makhanda. The organisation is seeking clean clothing, bedding, shoes and toys in good condition. If you can donate any money to support, Food4Futures’ bank account details are: FNB Makhanda. Account name: Food4Futures. Branch code: 210717. Bank account number: 62901533316)