Local Heroes 2023: Guardian angel in Garcia, Kennitta Prinsloo, spreads hope and kindness
For more than 17 years, a ray of hope has shone over the lives of the less fortunate residents of Garcia Flats, in Cambridge, thanks to a humanitarian who lives among them.
When Kennitta Community Projects founder Kennitta Prinsloo, 62, started her charity programme, she was simply feeding into her compulsion to help those less fortunate than her.
Little did she know that her kindness would touch hundreds of financially disadvantaged families in Cambridge and other parts of East London, including Duncan Village and Buffalo Flats.
More than 27 years later, her small apartment at Garcia Flats has become a home to many young children who freely come knocking whenever they’re in need.
Without much herself, Prinsloo goes knocking on doors to ask for sponsorships to buy food and goodies that she gives away to those in need.
Through Kennitta Community Projects, she hosts an annual Christmas lunch, Mother’s and Father’s Day celebratory lunches, and regularly cooks hearty meals to feed scores of children in her community.
When she started her project, the mother of four was unemployed and relied on her state disability grant.
“I believe we must share every gift we have from God with those around us.
“I’ve been in Garcia flats for about 29 years and I’ve been doing this for more than 17 years.
“I love to cook and bake, and I believe in offering people what I would also eat, so I put effort into the food I make for other people.
“I will never dish out something I know I wouldn’t eat and expect someone else to eat it just because it’s free,” Prinsloo said.
I believe we must share every gift we have from God with those around us
Over the years, the Good Samaritan has formed relationships with several local retailers, supermarkets and individuals who sponsor her project with food and cash.
Grete Pote, who assists in Prinsloo soup kitchen also hailed her as a community hero.
“I’ve known [Prinsloo] for a long time and we’ve become friends.Her daughter and my granddaughter are like sisters.”I used to stay with her in her flat because she always opens her arms whenever I have problems.”I recently moved back in with her, because when she saw me and noticed I had lost weight, she insisted that I come back and stay with her,” Pote said.
Prinsloo’s daughter Parry described her mother as a woman with a golden heart.
“I know everyone thinks the world of their parents, as they should, but I am 29 years old this year and all my life my mother has been giving not only to me, but to the community.
“When I was a little girl I remember us driving all around East London to give soup to the less fortunate.
“I remember specifically this one area in East London, where a little girl who was about my age at the time had such a huge smile on her face just because she had a bowl of soup and bread,” Parry said.
She said the support Prinsloo received from her few sponsors helped her to make a difference in the world.
“Every year at Christmas time, she hosts a party for the kids in her community and sometimes, when she can, she includes the adults.
“She also loves hosting a Mother’s Day brunch for all the elderly mothers,” Parry said.
During the Easter holidays, Prinsloo collects boxes of Easter eggs to give away to children in Garcia and on the streets.