V&A Joy from Africa

New Crossroads CAN

New Crossroads CAN is a community-based kitchen that Thembisa Jaxa started in response to the Covid-19 crisis. In March 2020, Thembisa, a caterer, started using her supplies (food meant for orders that were no longer able to be fulfilled due to lockdown) to feed members of her community who were in need. 

She soon realised that some people were reliant on these meals, so she made more by asking for donations on Facebook. The overwhelmingly positive response to her call-out has allowed her to continue providing food for the people of New Crossroads. 

“As much as there’s no money in this kind of work, it heals the soul,” says Thembisa. “There is a huge need for it, and many people bring two dishes to take to others at home. People are unemployed and the youth are roaming the streets. Some lost their jobs when lockdown started and have not been reinstated.” 

Rejeanne Vlietman, a supporter of New Crossroads CAN, receives the ingredients required to make the community meals, which she then supplies to Thembisa, who distributes them.  “This operation has become a hub in New Crossroads,” says Rejeanne. “Children of all ages gather here daily, whether it’s to collect food or street dance. I believe that the long-term benefit of New Crossroads CAN, in terms of how they uplift their community, is limitless. Thembisa and her team have an energy and willingness that is admirable.”

Buyiswa Sahlulo is a beneficiary at the New Crossroads CAN kitchen, and also joins Thembisa and her team as a volunteer from time to time, as she is unemployed. Thembisa offers her volunteers career guidance and teaches them catering skills.

 

 

“New Crossroads CAN doesn’t only assist with the food crisis in the community, it also provides us, the youth, with lots of support and has created a space where we can gather as a community to play games and sports,” says Buyiswa.

This community-based initiative allows the people of New Crossroads to participate in their own upliftment and brings them together for monthly street-game tournaments where they play soccer, netball and basketball in front of Thembisa’s home. 

“Getting together in this way has reduced crime as well as alcohol intake,” Buyiswa explains. “Everyone is included when these games are played – even grannies and the youngest children get involved. It has unified our community more.”

Over 100 000 meals have been collected from this community kitchen, which also delivers food to elderly and disabled members of the community who are unable to travel there. Soon, the initiative hopes to include skills development and literacy training to its offering.

GET INVOLVED

YOU can help New Crossroads CAN make an invaluable contribution to its community by offering your time, ingredients or money to its community kitchen. They currently need volunteers and fresh produce to make meals. If you are able to help, please email Thembisa on tembisajaxa@gmail.com. 

New Crossroads CAN Facebook

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