Table View Angels assist the needy
CHRISTMAS is a time for giving. In the case of Table View Angels, they embrace this virtue all year round.
The non-profit organisation started four years ago when chairperson Ankarien Oelofse came to the aid of a desperate family with the help of a Facebook group.
Word spread of her goodwill and friends wanted to do more and would drop clothes at her house to be distributed to people in need. Table View Angels operate from Milnerton to Melkbosstrand.
Behind the high walls in the suburbs, the Angels have seen a lot of heartache. From an 87-year old grandmother living in a wendy house with only a thin blanket, to other elderly people living on two slices of bread a day, sometimes locked in their rooms with no electricity. She has even come to the aid of families evicted because they are behind in rent because of to unemployment.
Once the group is called upon, a home visit by two Angels is arranged.
The volunteers assess the situation. Besides economic hardship, there could be underlying mental issues or drug abuse.
“Mental illness leads to a lot of ups and downs and they will lose jobs,” said Oelofse.
She knows too well the struggle of coping with mental illness and substance abuse. Her own battle started when she worked in the hospitality industry in the UK.
Her mother, who does all the clothes sorting for the Angels, forced her back to South Africa and into rehab. She has been sober for 15 years.
“It is therapy for me to help others. This is who I’ve become, this is me. My passion is the community,” she said.
The organisation often calls on its network for help, including Hope House for counselling or TLC when a homeless person needs help.
Oelofse said their main focus was helping families. They do a weekly food drop for 25 to 30 families. They assist for two months, during which they help the person to get back on their feet through job searches or in the case of pensioners, the Angels get them into a retirement home.
Sometimes the food cupboards are bare and Oelofse puts out a plea on Facebook.
“Many people need help now. Because of the economy, companies are downscaling and people are retrenched.
“Seniors are struggling. They can’t get by on their pensions,” she said.