Hope grows through Bloemendal food garden

WORKING TOGETHER: The church community in a gang-ridden area of Bloemendal has started a garden to teach community members how to plant vegetables and start their own gardens. Apostle Earl Piet, left, shows off some of the produce with James Bantom, centre, and Ezra Munnik
Image: WERNER HILLS

A Bloemendal pastor is putting into practice the proverb of teaching a man to fish by showing  young people in his community how to grow their own food, cook it and feed each other.

The founder of King’s Gate Revival Ministries, Apostle Earl Piet, said besides educating them on ways to sustain themselves and their families, the feeding scheme also aimed to decrease gangsterism in the area by keeping the youth actively involved.

“Our communities are not educated when it comes to self-sustenance due to being exposed to societal issues such as gender-based violence, crime and violence.

“I believe teaching people how to fish should be the primary objective as a church.

“We started the vegetable garden as an aim not only to provide for households in less fortunate areas, but to sell to local markets, which will in turn help to generate more gardens,” Piet said.

“We feed more than 7,000 people from Monday to Friday with porridge in the mornings and a meal in the afternoon.”

He said they fed two areas in Arcadia, Bloemendal Extension 21, Timothy Valley, Kliprand, Riemvasmaak, Vastrap, Jaagvlakte, two areas in Salt Lake and the Windvogel informal settlement.

Algoa Park Flats and Uitenhage were the other areas where they fed residents in need.

Mostly teenagers and young adults from the community, along with church members, tend to the garden where cabbage, onions and spinach are now being grown and harvested.

Christopher Adriaan, who assists the King’s Gate Revival Ministries Feeding Scheme, said unemployment was at an all-time high.

When driving through the northern areas, the number of people who could be seen at home was evidence of the extent of unemployment, he said.

“The garden is a beacon of hope; it is a transition from dependence to being independent and it plays a great role in fighting the socioeconomic ills in our community.

“Community members are eager to assist where they can, because they know that this will assist everybody.

“It’s heartwarming and shows people just need a chance in life,” Adriaan said.

Vera Jewell, who lives in Extension 21 in Bethelsdorp, said God worked through his people and working in the garden was her way of helping.

“There aren’t jobs for the youth. I’m very glad about the garden; some assist to show appreciation for what they get from the King’s Gate Revival Ministries Feeding Scheme,” Jewell said.

People who want to donate towards the feeding scheme and gardens may contact Piet on 081-889-6669.

BY SIMTEMBILE MGIDI

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