Soup Kitchen for Children and Youth
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Fleurhof Congregational Church
Johannesburg, South Africa
The United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (UCCSA), founded in 1967, has a strong established partnership with Global Ministries. There are 272 congregations with 235,900 members in the South Africa Synod.
South Africa is a ten-year old democracy that faces major obstacles to be financially stable after many years of apartheid. The national economic growth has not been strong enough to lower South Africa’s high unemployment rate, now at 37 percent. The country has not been able to successfully address the overwhelming poverty and lack of economic empowerment among the disadvantaged groups. Women and children are greatly affected.
In addition, the devastating growth of the HIV/AIDS pandemic has further caused South Africa to fall even deeper into crisis. This greatly impacts the quality of ministry and missions the UCCSA churches can provide to the people in their communities. The effort to restore, renew, and revitalize South Africa will require creative ideas, economic alternatives, and program development. The church is being called to respond to the needs of the South African people in new ways.
The Fleurhof Congregational Church, located in a small town just outside of the city of Johannesburg, is an English speaking congregation of 100 members (about 45 families). It began an outreach program to children and youth from Soweto, as it became more and more frequent that the neighbors of the church were having children knock on their doors asking for food. The church answered the call, partnered with other churches, and established a soup kitchen, consisting of a weekly hot meal. When it began, the program had ten children coming for the weekly meal; today they have 50-75 children from Soweto attend, some walking four to five miles to share in this meal. The children, ages three to 18, also are given a loaf of bread to take home with them. Because of the devastation of AIDS, some of these children and young people are “heads of households,” living on their own or with their siblings, while others live with an extended family members such as a grandmother.
The children and young people enjoy the community at Fleurhof as well as the meal. They organize recreational and reflection activities each week, under the leadership of volunteers from the Fleurhof congregation and their young, dynamic pastor, Reverend BG Swartz. The congregation collects food for the program, and this past Christmas the congregation gathered food parcels to give to each child. The project also gives each child a backpack and supplies for school. One volunteer, interviewed about her work at the soup kitchen, stated through her tears, “The tears are not of sadness, but tears of God’s promise.”
Support this Ministry
To make a gift for this ministry online or by check use the online donation page.
- 100% of your gift will be directed to Soup Kitchen for Children and Youth
- You will receive updates on the work in this area as they become available
- Share in the vision of God’s abundant life for all people
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