Ta­ble View An­gels as­sist the needy

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - METRO - KAREN PRE­TO­RIUS

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.

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