‘Just a little love’ from Egoli good Samaritan
“You can’t just sit back, you have to do something.”
So says kind-hearted Egoli resident and founder of the Net ’n Bietjie Liefde soup kitchen, Bernadine Norton.
Norton, who has lived in Egoli for the past 22 years, runs her soup kitchen two to three days a week.
Primarily running operations from her home, Norton manages to feed 200-300 people each day.
Norton said when she was able to she also visited Vergenoeg, Pefferville and Parkside to distribute the soup she made in her kitchen.
“Seeing the poverty in my community is what inspired me to do this,” said Norton, 52.
“Seeing all the children in the streets that are so full of alcohol and drug abuse, I had to do something.”
Norton said her soup kitchen was made possible by the friends and family who helped her every week.
I have no permanent sponsors so I usually get donations from my friends, and my hubby helps me a lot too
“I have no permanent sponsors so I usually get donations from my friends, and my hubby helps me a lot too,” said Norton.
Chanell Norton, a fellow Egoli resident and extended family member, joined Norton this year.
Chanell said the community was rife with unemployment and poverty.
Many elderly residents lived on Sassa grants and had to take care of grandchildren.
“I wanted to start my own soup kitchen because there is such a big need for it. Bernadine was helping me to start it up, but when lockdown happened I joined her,” Chanell said.
“This soup kitchen is so essential for the community. People are really struggling.”
Norton said the lockdown had been particularly difficult, but that she had continued to run her soup kitchen throughout.
“In lockdown it’s definitely become worse. Everyone is struggling, and more and more people are in need of food.
“I've bought some disposable masks and distributed them. Many don’t know or don’t take the situation seriously, so I’m trying to get some health workers to come out and do awareness talks.
I’ve thought of stopping my soup kitchen once or twice because it’s a risk for me too, but when people come to my door it just breaks my heart
“I’ve thought of stopping my soup kitchen once or twice because it’s a risk for me too, but when people come to my door it just breaks my heart,” Norton said.
Norton sanitises outside her home every week for everyone’ safety.
She has also been making food parcels for the elderly in her community during the lockdown.
“There were quite a few people who didn’t receive food parcels so whatever we have left over or can find in my cupboard we put together as food parcels for those who need.”
Norton said the soup kitchen had become her number one passion.
“I really enjoy it and it’s definitely my passion — you can’t do it without passion.
“Helping others is second nature to me and I thank God for giving me the strength to do it.”
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