Every weekday morning the Mountain of the Lord Feeding Scheme provides sandwiches for children on their way to school in Harmony Hill, Sabie. From the beginning of June, the Transvaal Gold Mining Estates (TGME) has been sponsoring the food in full.
“I would really like to thank the mine for making our burden lighter,” said Pastor Roy Roach. The initiative which feeds about 110 children every morning started about five years ago. In the past, they had been reliant on variable donations from church members and others and often had to cut down on the food given to the children when the budget was low.
Every child on his or her way to Harmony Hill Primary School – whether from Harmony Hill, Simile or Sabie town – is welcome to pop in at the church for breakfast. They get three slices of bread with peanut butter and jam every day and a fruit twice a week. This food is now sponsored by TGME, which also plans to add milk and yogurt from next term.
Pastor Roach’s wife, Yolande, and 3 volunteers get up at 5 every morning to fetch the freshly baked bread and prepare the sandwiches. “The children really appreciate the food as many take empty lunchboxes to school,” explained Yolande. “We see them finishing their sandwiches before they even get to the church gate.” She also explained that fewer children come in at the beginning of the month and that the numbers increase gradually throughout the month as the money at home runs out.
The volunteers’ contribution often also involves more than just providing food – like teaching the children to say please and thank you, tying shoelaces here and straightening buttons or collars there. Speaking to Yolande one could hear her love for the children. She describes how, over the years, many have grown up with them until moving on to high school.