By Anga-Anganda Bushwana
In the heart of Vukani, Makhanda, the Seventh Day Adventist Church has established itself as a place of refuge and nourishment for those in need. Led by Thandeka Doris Mthwalo, this food kitchen initiative goes beyond providing meals. It offers support, guidance, and a sense of community to individuals facing various challenges. During a Grocott’s Mail visit, we had the privilege of speaking with Mthwalo, Pastor Mthuthuzeli Madinda, Nokuzola Joyce Khalithi, and Sabela Baba, who shared their unwavering commitment to serving the community.
Mthwalo, a dedicated leader of the food kitchen, understands the struggles faced by many community members. As a domestic worker, she recognises the high cost of food and the limited resources available. “Food is so expensive, I can only cook three days per week,” Mthwalo explained. Despite this, she cooks at her own home and brings the meals to the church, where people can gather to enjoy a warm, nourishing meal.
The food kitchen initiative at the Church extends its support beyond providing meals. Mthwalo and her team also distribute clothes and sanitary pads to those in need. Additionally, Pastor Madinda takes the opportunity to share messages of faith and teach the importance of gratitude. “This is not just a food kitchen. It is also a place of refuge for people in need of support,” Mthwalo emphasised.
The team said they drew their inspiration from their faith and the teachings of Jesus. Khalithi told Grocott’s Mail “We do what we do according to the Bible because when Jesus was on earth, there were never people who were hungry and there were never people who were sick. He helped everyone.” Baba added, “We are living according to His word.”
Madinda said he wanted to transform the image of the church and make it a place that serves the community, with a particular focus on the youth. He believes that by providing young people with a sense of belonging, the church can make a positive impact on their lives. Mthwalo expressed her desire to collaborate with the Seventh Day Adventist Church of Rhodes University, hoping to acquire drums for young people to play during church services in Vukani.
The team also recognises the importance of mental health support. They refer young people who are struggling with mental illness, or who are being subjected to abuse, to counselling services.
The Vukani Seventh Day Adventist Church’s food kitchen initiative serves as a beacon of hope and support for the community. Their commitment to serving the community and living according to their faith is truly inspiring. Through their selfless actions, they are making a significant impact on the lives of individuals in need, fostering a sense of belonging and hope for a brighter future.