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How lovely it is to be writing to you after what already seems to be a too-long lockdown, which hit us with such dramatic suddenness. Your autumn Reporter was, in fact, on its way to the post and is only now coming to you with this letter! It is still very relevant.
Like most of us you must be bored with hearing about nothing other than the corona virus. Unfortunately, as it is impacting on all our lives, it must be addressed.
We are all suffering from loss of jobs, earnings, homes, many basic freedoms, and from being close to loved-ones and friends. But have you given any thought to how organisations such as The Salvation Army are coping? For over a century we have been trying to help the thousands who come to us daily. Our soup kitchens that have nurtured hundreds of homeless and starving every day have been banned – because of social distancing!
However we have given out more than 10 000 food parcels over the last three months – and we have taken considerable consolation from having been trusted with catering for hundreds of destitute women, children and men in. four camps in Pretoria. A project of the Department of Social Development to alleviate the plight of families severely affected by the lockdown, these shelters for the homeless seemed to spring up overnight. Since March 27, The Salvation Army has had dedicated teams providing three meals a day to 560 of these people.
I was privileged to spend a day with Capt. Heather Rossouw, who heads up the project. Her troops were running ragged serving a nutritious midday meal of samp, beans and stew, and I was humbled when everyone joined in prayer – the beneficiaries, The Salvation Army staff and volunteers – to give thanks to God for our blessings.
It was a poignant reminder that no matter how bad things are, God is always with us, giving us reason to be grateful.
What could these people in particular be thankful for? Ah yes, the meals certainly.Their shelter. Health. Life itself. Knowing that there are people like you who really care about God’s children, and give what you can to make others’ lives that much more bearable.
Chatting to these diverse people, I met youngsters who were proud to have achieved matric, despite not being able to work as yet. There were skilled artisans and professionals who’d been retrenched yet had faith they’d find new jobs, no matter how small. There were single mothers with small kids and elderly black men who’d not had the opportunity to go beyond the old standard six then had to earn a living. They too had hope.
Faith is God’s greatest gift to us. And each time we receive your support that will help us care for those poor people who are so much less fortunate than most, we thank God for your friendship, your generosity and your caring.
Your gift in response to this appeal will not only help us provide the food needed for survival, it will offer renewed hope to our overwhelmingly underprivileged fellow citizens who will again feel blessed by your kindness.
I wish you many of the Lord’s blessings in these very difficult times.
Major Carin Holmes
Public Relations Secretary
Southern Africa Territory
PS: Like our heart-breaking stories in the enclosed newsletter that usually end with heart-warming hope, may this devastating world pandemic soon end with lots of good things emerging from it.