Sustainability of soup kitchens one of the greatest challenges as Mandela Day approaches (2024)

CAPE TOWN. – The theme of this Nelson Mandela Day is One Hand Can Feed Another. It is a call to action for the people of South Africa to ignite the embers of ubuntu and tackle food insecurity by working together.

One of the warriors at the forefront of the war on hunger is 1000 Women Trust, who started and sustained 45 soup kitchens since 2020, and is still feeding 15000 people per day in and around the Western Cape.

“A central theme of the 45 soup kitchens has been sustainability, which is pivotal as there is significant donor fatigue because some business have closed down and many people have suffered job losses,” said Tina Thiart, a founder member of 1000 Women Trust.

She says some soup kitchens have started Take Aways-services for paying clients or planting vegetables and selling airtime and electricity to create income. One soup kitchen is planning to start a Spaza Shop.

On Mandela Day – 18 th July 2021 – volunteers can visit soup kitchens to help by preparing food, marshalling children or help clean pots and pans, said Thiart.

Donors can also donate produce, airtime, electricity or dry products and vegetables, she said.

Latifah Jacobs, a coordinator of the community soup kitchens, said the soup kitchens all serve lunch five days per week, and some even serve breakfast.

Some try and compliment their income by selling Samosas on weekends to pay for their own gas.

Jacobs try and supplement her income by selling jewelry with beads. She does that, as she is responsible for paying for the gas and electricity at Kuils River out of her own pocket.

“The biggest neds of the soup kitchens are ingredients as well as operational costs – we are talking about gas, electricity and airtime, as well as cleaning material for the 300 litre-pots,” she said.

“Donor fatigue is real and present. The City of Cape Town offered support to 60 % of the ingredients in the kitchens until end of June, but now we need new support to ensure that there are ingredients at each of the 45 soup kitchens,” she said.

Currently, 169 volunteers are supporting the soup kitchens.

The soup kitchens are in Kuils River (organization: Aurorah), Stellenbosch (Ubuntu Rural women), Philippi East (Instika Yesizwe Community Development), Masiphumelele (Visionary Can Ladies), Manenberg (Youth for Change Global), Heideveld (Heideveld Can), Kraaifontein (Youth clouds of heaven), Westlake, Tokai (Women of Westlake,org), Bonteheuwel (Joint Peace Forum), Delft (WIN), Elsies River (Jolene’s Foundation), Paarl (Renew Mind), Paarl (Change with Development), Ocean View (Elothando Rens Foundation), Nyanga East (Small Beginnings), Kraaifontein (Deborah Association Organization), Ocean View (Handprints Community Upliftment Proect), Durbanville (NOSTOP), Paarl (Marge Soup Kitchen), Kuils River (Sharing is Caring), Waallecedene (Women’s Movement), Mitchell’s Plaian (Veronica Kitchens), Mitchells Plain (Mitchells Plain Crisis), Thornton (RAM) and Wellington (Arise Women @ Men Circle).

Food insecurity in South Africa is rampant.

T he Integrated Food Security Phase Classification Report (IPC report) revealed that in the period between September and December 2020, 9.34 million people in South Africa, or 16 % of the population, faced high levels of acute food insecurity and required urgent action to reduce food gaps and protect livelihoods.

Of the nine provinces of South Africa, eight: Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng, North West, Free State, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, were classified in Stressed (IPC Phase 2), and are in need of action for livelihood protection, while Kwa-Zulu Natal Province is classified in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). South Africa’s deteriorating food security is mainly driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigation measures as well as high food prices, drought and economic decline.

In the period between January and March 2021, 11.8 million people (20% of the analysed population) are in the crisis. Of the nine provinces analysed, seven provinces, namely Limpopo, North West, Gauteng, Free State, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Eastern Cape and Western Cape, have fallen into crisis (IPC Phase 3), while the Mpumalanga province and Northern Cape remain in IPC Stressed (IPC Phase 2). A large proportion of the South African population need urgent action to reduce food gaps and protect livelihoods.

“We cannot address the dire socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic without the sustained support of donors, friends, family members and partners of 1000 Women Trust. With your help, we will win the War on Hunger,” said Thiart.

1000 Women Trust has embarked on a campaign to empower women economically with the assistance of the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda), Pick ‘n Pay and Namakwaland Sitrus to accelerate and expand the employment prospects of women who survived gender-based violence in South Africa.

Currently, 52.2 % of SA women live below the upper bound poverty level of R1183 per month.

“We at 1000 Women Trust is committed to change the dynamics of women in South Africa by advancing women’s economic rights, fighting gender-based violence, abuse and harassment, supporting women’s plight for equal opportunities for recruitment, empowering and inspiring women through advancing income-generating opportunities,” Thiart said.

“But Mandela Day will be about feeding one another, and by supporting feeding schemes like the 45 soup kitchens so that 15000 people per day will not sleep hungry,” Thiart concluded.

For more information about the soup kitchens, contact Latifah Jacobs on info@

For more information about 1000 Women Trust, visit , or contact Thiart on 073-2079079 or Latifah Jacobs on or on 0614690479.

Sustainability of soup kitchens one of the greatest challenges as Mandela Day approaches (2024)


What were soup kitchens and why were they started in the 1920s? ›

The history of soup kitchens in America can be traced back to the year 1929 with the effects of a growing depression. When soup kitchens first appeared, they were run by churches or private charities and served mostly soup and bread. Soup was economical because water could be added to serve more people.

What is the vision and mission statement of the soup kitchen Organisation? ›

Our MISSION is simple: to feed people in need regardless of their circ*mstances. The Soup Kitchen provides healthy and nutritious meals to all who come through our doors.

What are some interesting facts about soup kitchens? ›

Soup kitchens can be traced back to the 1920s. They began in 1929 due to the growing depression. Churches and private charities began serving soup to the most vulnerable in the community. Serving soup was an economic decision; because water could be added to it, they were able to distribute even more.

What does soup kitchen mean in slang? ›

1. a place where food, usually soup, is served at little or no charge to the needy. 2. Military slang (in World War I) a mobile kitchen.

Why did Al Capone open soup kitchens? ›

Al Capone's soup kitchen provided breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Capone also provided clothes for those who were in need. Well-known throughout Chicago as a murderer and bootlegger, Capone opened the soup kitchen in an effort to improve his image.

What was the main purpose of soup kitchens? ›

The definition of a soup kitchen is a place where people who cannot afford, or do not have the means to feed themselves, can get a free or cheap meal. Soup kitchens became a refuge for needy families during the Great Depression in the United States.

How did soup kitchens affect the Great Depression? ›

During the Great Depression preceding the passage of the Social Security Act, "soup kitchens" provided the only meals some unemployed Americans had. This particular soup kitchen was sponsored by the Chicago gangster Al Capone.

What are the benefits of a soup kitchen in the community? ›

A soup kitchen is one of the few places where the homeless can get a free meal without judgment or discrimination. These institutions rely solely on the generosity of the people and run on donations. As such, they always appreciate people willing to donate their money and time.

What are the aims and objectives of a soup kitchen? ›

The Soup Kitchen's primary responsibility is to provide a safe, clean, uplifting environment for those in need of food and fellowship. We serve the homeless, the working poor, the unemployed and their families.

Where did people get free food during the Great Depression? ›

Not only was access to food limited by rationing, many people had to turn to soup kitchens, which are places where people can go and get a free meal, or food stamps, which are booklets of stamps that could be used to buy food, cleaning supplies, and other necessities, to get enough food to feed their families.

What are the challenges of soup kitchens? ›

Soup kitchens have been hit by rising food costs and overheads amid a growing demand for the free meals they provide. Alif Amsyar finds out how they are coping. Soup kitchens have been hit by rising food costs and overheads amid a growing demand for the free meals they provide.

What can you learn from a soup kitchen? ›

Here's what I learned.
  • 1) It takes an army to operate a soup kitchen. ...
  • 2) Food insecurity does not discriminate. ...
  • 3) We really don't need as much as we think. ...
  • 4) Your food donations are much more important than you think. ...
  • 5) Count your blessings. ...
  • 6) Learn By Doing. ...
  • 7) It Builds Personal Relationships.
Sep 13, 2022

What do soup kitchens need the most? ›

Specifically, food banks often need items like:
  • Canned soup.
  • Canned fruit.
  • Canned vegetables.
  • Canned stew.
  • Canned fish.
  • Canned beans.
  • Pasta (most prefer whole grain)
  • Rice (most prefer brown rice)
Jan 14, 2020

Are soup kitchens still around? ›

Do they still have soup kitchens? Yes. There are places that feed people all over the USA, serving hot meals.

What is a soup boy slang? ›

Now that the song is popular, a lot of people are wondering what 'soup song' means. I derived that from the English phrase 'to be in a soup'; thus, a 'soup song' is one that arises out of a break-up. In the same vein, a 'soup boy' is a guy who has been dumped.

What is a soup kitchen in world history? ›

A soup kitchen, food kitchen, or meal center is a place where food is offered to the hungry usually for no price, or sometimes at a below-market price (such as coin donations).

What was the main cause for the need for soup kitchens? ›

Final answer: The main cause for the need for soup kitchens during the 1930s was the high rate of unemployment.

What did they do for fun in the Great Depression? ›

Radio programs, music, dancing and dance marathons, and cinema were popular forms of entertainment during the Great Depression. Many people suffering from the effects of the economic downturn looked for inexpensive ways to pass the time and distract themselves from the challenging circ*mstances.

How did the Great Depression end? ›

Despite all the President's efforts and the courage of the American people, the Depression hung on until 1941, when America's involvement in the Second World War resulted in the drafting of young men into military service, and the creation of millions of jobs in defense and war industries.

What were soup kitchens in the famine? ›

In the summer of 1847, the government set up some soup kitchens to give the starving people hot soup. A group called the Society of Friend, or the Quakers, did a lot of work to feed the poor. They bought huge boilers in which to cook the soup. By August 1847, about 3 million people were being fed each day in total.

Why might a criminal open a soup kitchen during the depression? ›

a criminal might open a soup kitchen during the Depression because one to save their reputation or make themself look like a good guy and many criminals like Al Capone could have not been paying anything relying instead stockpile or charitable endeavor by extorting and bribing businesses to donate goods .

When and why was soup invented? ›

Based on archeological evidence, it turns out that the very first bowl of soup was cooked in 20,000 BC and became part of the everyday menu from as early as 6000 BC. After the invention of clay pots and bowls, making soup was easy! It became a part of cuisines all over the world.

How did people store food in the 1920s? ›

Until the late 1920's and beyond, the icebox was used to keep food cool. This required a weekly visit by the iceman to place a huge block of ice, locally harvested from Lake Waubesa in the winter, in the top compartment. Cold air circulated down and around items in the lower storage compartment.

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