Tuesday lunchtime is a special time at the Mbare Soup Kitchen. Up to 100 people enjoy a delicious, freshly made, nutritious bowl of hot soup served with fresh bread.
The soup is prepared by volunteers from all over Harare — Katie Moyo, for example, is from Gunhill and has been volunteering for about 5 years, while Faith Chitambira and Timothy Kudakwashe are both from Mbare. The number of volunteers on any given Tuesday ranges from around three to eight people who prepare the food, serve it and wash up the pots and plates afterwards.
Some of the ingredients for the meals come from donations. Baker’s Inn kindly donates around 30 loaves of fresh bread each week and some of the bigger supermarket chains also make occasional donations. The rest of the ingredients are supplied by With Love Foundation. On Tuesday 14 February Dr Lance Mambondiani, CEO of Steward Bank, made a huge donation of foodstuff and cleaning materials as part of the bank’s commitment to easing the plight of the needy.
This generous donation will make an important difference to the lives of many for months to come and was greatly appreciated. It would be wonderful if other corporates with a sense of social responsibility would also take up the challenge. Apart from foodstuff and cleaning materials the Foundation also needs gas for cooking and a myriad of other items.
People of all ages, backgrounds, colours and creeds are all welcome. Some of the children come from child-headed families or from severely disadvantaged or dysfunctional families. There are unemployed youths and destitute elderly people coming both for the food and for some company. Many survive on one meal a day — and usually the little food they have at home is not very healthy or nourishing.
The founders of With Love Foundation are Lynnette Mhalaba and Chenai Mudede-Msika. Both of them have lived and studied abroad and came back to Zimbabwe with a passion to help those in need and to provide opportunities to the underprivileged to better themselves and their communities. With Love Foundation currently has a board of five trustees – Nama Mounchikpou, Kuda Nyemba, Winnie Ncube, Lynnette Mhalaba (Chair) and Daphine Sanhanga (Secretary). All the Trustees work for and on behalf of the Foundation on a voluntary basis and have other full time jobs.
With Love not only run the soup kitchen but also provide vocational training on Saturday mornings at the same venue — the Chinembiri Training Centre, next door to Mbare High School. Currently the Foundation is running a jewellery making course so that beneficiaries of the course can learn to make a sustainable income.
The foundation also hopes to establish a Big Brother/Big Sister mentorship programme this year to provide counselling and support for children in need.
Apart from other fund raising activities like charity dinners and sponsored walks the Foundation runs two quiz nights every Monday and Wednesday at Pariah State, Borrowdale and Bojangles in Newlands. The money raised from these nights is used to purchase food for the soup kitchen (although volunteers sometimes use their own money). So come along and enjoy the fun for a good cause.
Consider donating some food — even a packet of beans or a small bag of tomatoes would help — or give up some time to help in the kitchen.