As the gloomy milestone of 200 days of national lockdown sinks in, TLC Outreach Projects continues to be at the forefront of the battle against the Covid-19 pandemic.
The non-profit welfare organisation assists street people and destitute youth at risk in and around Table View.
TLC was classified as an essential service by the Department of Social Development during Level 5 of the national lockdown. Since then, says its founder Colleen Pietersen, it has provided 35 000 food parcels and cooked meals to the homeless.
With help of two expanded public works programme (EPWP) workers, TLC has been doing daily Covid-19 screening of the homeless in the area. The organisation also checks the homeless have masks and wear them properly.
“At the beginning of lockdown, we educated the homeless about Covid-19. We would let them watch the live presidential talks at the TLC office,” Ms Pietersen said.
Due to her age Ms Pietersen fell in the high risk group for contracting Covid-19 and ran the office from home. The staff was briefed on Zoom meetings until she returned to the TLC office based next to Table View SAPS station in Pentz Drive during level 3 of the lockdown.
She said losing Table View police officer Captain Kenny Lombard to Covid-19 was heart-breaking.
“I want to thank my staff who have worked around the clock serving hundreds and hundreds of people with food parcels and meals daily and being real heroes in what they are doing,” said Ms Pietersen.
She also thanked Christian Revival Church (CRC) Cares for providing toiletries, food and clothing for the homeless during lockdown.
Adriaan Nieuwenhuizen, from CRC Cares, said working with TLC during lockdown had helped to spread hope in the community.
“Giving hope to people who don’t have much makes a positive difference in the community,” he said.
Ms Pietersen hopes TLC will be able to resume its usual services next year.
Lockdown has stopped services such as computer literacy training and drawing up of CVs for the homeless.
“It’s been tough, all our sponsors have stopped due to Covid-19, but for now it’s about saving lives. God will provide for our needs,” she said.
If you would like to donate to TLC or to become a TLC volunteer, call 083 658 4032 or email firstname.lastname@example.org