“You want to make sure that the last child or adult who comes running to you goes home with a meal. Because the expression in the eyes of a child who is turned away without a bowl is not a good feeling at all” – Mymoena Scholtz, pioneer and leader of Where Rainbows Meet Training & Development Foundation.
Since the start of lockdown, Where Rainbows Meet has become an essential services provider, adapting to meet the growing need for food in the Vrygrond community in Cape Town. Vrygrond is a multi-cultural community of nearly 40,000, situated near the coastal suburb of Muizenberg about 20 km from central Cape Town. It is the oldest informal settlement (1900) in the Western Cape.
Today, in the time of corona, Where Rainbows Meet feeds 2 500 people a day in six communities. In addition, they support 30 kitchens, each of which provides for more 300 people per day.
Meet ‘Where Rainbows Meet’?
Founded in 2008, Where Rainbows Meet is a non-profit organisation devoted to community and business development. Through programmes, initiatives, and awareness events, it aims to improve the chances of people from the community and offer people from the community the opportunity to gain knowledge and experience within the organisation.
‘Where Rainbows Meet’ in the time of corona
“We are left here on our own to look after our own – that is the reality where our government is concerned,” says Mymoena Scholtz.
Where Rainbows Meet aims to provide meals for children and adults alike, and at the same time help stop the spread of the virus in the communities they serve by educating the public, practicing social distancing, sanitising and offering services that were offered by organisations that are now closed due to lockdown.
The organisation serves the entire Vrygrond community, as well as supporting kitchens in Steenberg, Lavender Hill, Riemvasmaak, Overcome Heights, Hillview and many others by providing resources to make food in their communities. “The need and demand is growing daily and we are now supporting thousands of people daily,” says Mymoena.
“We have many kinds of people that come to our feeding scheme – seniors, children, unemployed, gangsters are all in the food line. And when you hear the community saying ‘we don’t want to steal, we don’t want to break in, just give us something to eat’ – it touches your heart. You just want to make sure they know that you are here for them.”
Mymoena’s greatest worry keeping her awake at night is what will happen if they are no longer able to provide for the people who are relying on them for a daily meal. “If this carries on till December and we don’t get support we are all in big danger here. I pray every night and day that people don’t become tired of giving. The community needs all of us. We have to try and help the people in the best possible way,” she says. “We are supported locally and internationally, including by Marina da Gama, which supplies us with cooked food and baby products. A big thank you SA Harvest for coming on board and bringing donations that are very scarce. We are extremely thankful for this new partnership and hope that this will grow even after COVID-19”.
The Vrygrond community is supported by a variety of organisations working in collaboration to supply Where Rainbows Meet and its satellite kitchens, as well as other kitchens in the area. The partnerships are inspiring and a model for collaboration, with The Big Food Drive, Vrygrond United, Muizenburg CAN and Constantia CAN working together to provide relief to the impoverished communities in the area. “We work closely with each of these organisations to meet the growing need,” says Manu Wegmershaus, Cape Town operations manager of SA Harvest. “Our strength lies in supplying dry goods, such as rice, oil maize meal, and whatever else we can rescue, while the Big Food Drive supplies fresh ingredients. The Muizenburg and Constantia CANs do incredible work in rallying their communities to assist those living in less privileged areas. It’s a partnership that works. But the need is increasing and funding is becoming diminishing. Donations are essential to allow us to continue doing what we do.”
To find out more about Where Rainbows Meet, go to their website.