South Africa's 21 day lock down was announced by the govt on March 23rd last year giving us all just four days to prepare for the coming few weeks.

Life got a little hectic as we knew certain items would be banned from sale for the duration, and so many people went crazy with hoarding, and it wasn't just loo rolls!

Alongside doing the bulk of the donkey work in terms of collecting donations, I also get to do the fun bit of passing them on to those that  are in need of them.

Over the last few weeks The Gathering has been blessed with just over 6 pallets of peanut sachets, with each pallet holding 72 boxes and each box containing 150 sachets. In total we've received about 450 boxes and as of today we have so far given 300 boxes away.

Today I had the joy of delivering 20 boxes of the sachets to False Bay Primary in Macassar, and they were delighted. It means that they, along with Macassar Primary, Marvin Park Primary and Firgrove Primary can target the hungriest kids and make sure they've had something to eat before lessons start each day. Now that is a huge blessing!

Further to my post a couple of days ago on Rejects Become Blessings, I've uncovered a little bit more of the story and I find it quite perplexing.

As I said in that post, some of the boxes we received were indeed rejected due to the odd leaky sachet, but the bulk of the boxes we received on Friday have been rejected for far stranger reasons.

I have to testify to the goodness of God and his traveling mercies yesterday.

I was on my second trip collecting the peanut paste sachets and pootling along with a loaded trailer at 75kph (a little under 50mph) when the trailer started snaking. I think it was a combination of the wind, the weight, and a poorly serviced trailer that caused the snaking. 

What a contrast two consecutive days can be!

Yesterday afternoon I was left feeling very deflated after once again running in to an unhelpful & unyielding branch of South African bureaucracy.

This morning I was blessed by the joy of borrowing a friends trailer and driving out to Muizenberg to collect 47 boxes of the peanut paste sachets that are so popular amongst our Soup Kitchen regulars.

It was pure joy and a real privilege to spend a few hours with my mate Shaddie this morning serving My Father's House as they prepare the food for their daily feeding programme providing for the most vulnerable members of the Simon's Town community and beyond.

I love what My Father's House are doing and their vision and motivation behind it all, so it's probably a good thing that we don't live any closer because I would invest more of my time in to their vision and work to the detriment of my main focus.

It's been a while since we were able to deliver any food parcels, so it was a joy to be able to package up just enough food today to be able to bless our HOPE Home Based Care ladies in Chris Nissen with a decent hamper each.

Despite the government recently easing our lockdown restrictions, life is still very tough for the poorest, so it was a privilege to be able to put a smile on the HOPE ladies faces as they received their hampers.

One of the joys of what we do is being able to collect donations, sort them and then send them out again to the right people/places to ensure they have the maximum impact.

So recently it was great to be in touch with a local who had several boxes of brand new flip-flops left over from a recently closed business enterprise. They were keen that the flip-flops were not sold but rather would go to people who need them and would appreciate them, which is where The Gathering comes in. Sadly some of the boxes were water damaged so we've had to bin the worst of the damaged flip-flops, but we were able to rescue seven boxes of 24 pairs to be given away. What a blessing!

The Gathering now has seven boxes of flip-flops waiting to be given away. Two will go to locals we know in Firgrove and the other five boxes will go to My Father's House on Friday when I go through to spend time with my mate Shaddie at their feeding programme in Simon's Town.

Over the last few weeks we've seen some steady growth in the numbers coming for The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen as well as seeing some old regulars that were holed up in other places reemerging. And what we know from all of this is that the need for food is greater than ever!

So last night for the first time since our 21 day lockdown began almost a year ago, we used the 70lt pot, and we served over 150 cups and gave away thirty 1lt pots for folk to take home.

It's exciting to be serving so many, but it's heartbreaking that the need is so prevalent!

Soup Kitchen

As ever it's a joy and a privilege to be able to serve our community through The Gathering's weekly Soup Kitchen, and last night was no exception.

Normally this one in the month would be our quietest given that pensions and disability grants have just been paid, but such is the need in the current climate that we were far busier than we had expected.

What this confirms to us is what we already know; the need is very real and those that come for soup are genuinely grateful for the reliability of the Soup Kitchen.

South Africa's lockdown was eased a little on Monday which means life once again has some semblance of normality about it, whatever that is, and we could feel it in the community as things felt a little lighter than they have of late.

4X4 Road Trip

I'm excited today because I've begun to collect some detailed road maps of South Africa in preparation for Joel's 18th birthday road trip.

Joel & I are planning a 4X4 road trip around the whole of SA for his birthday so the planning can begin in earnest now.

Sadly, due to the pandemic and college dates for Joel we're having to delay the trip from March to his June/July break, but the advantage of that is that we'll have no major time constraints and can make it a bit of a more leisurely trip.

We can't wait!