How Ladles of Love is helping to feed Cape Town’s hungry

Ladles of Love volunteer handing out soup to a homeless person

Ladles of Love is a community project that is dedicated to feeding hungry people in and around the Cape Town area. The initiative began in July 2014 when restaurant owner Danny Diliberto was inspired to set up a soup kitchen after attending a course through the Art of Living Foundation that encouraged people to give back to their community. What started off as a small team of volunteers serving a few hot meals to the homeless has grown into a programme that feeds 100s of homeless people a week in different locations, as well as school children and communities in need. 

“In the almost six years of operation, we have grown from providing food from one soup kitchen to four weekly. We have also expanded our food programme to four schools to help feed their students, as well as giving a helping hand to four other beneficiaries with their feeding initiatives. As a result we’ve grown from preparing and serving 100 meals every week to generating a food output of around 5 tonnes per month, serving around 15,000 meals a month,” said Danny. 

Ladles of Love is run by Danny and a core team of volunteers who work in the kitchens to prepare the food and hand it out to the hungry. Anyone is welcome to volunteer, all that’s required is to check their timetable and be at the venue on time to help out. 

Online donations keep Ladles of Love going  

Ladles of Love is able to feed the hungry with the support of their partners who provide them with essentials like food donations and important services like marketing material, as well as online donations from the public. When Ladles of Love registered as a non-profit organisation (NPO) in 2017 they set up a bank account to accept donations to keep their feeding initiative in operation. In 2018 they chose to integrate PayFast as their online payment solution to offer potential donors around the world a secure payment portal to make their donations. When they signed up for their PayFast account, they were also given a free webpage hosted on the PayFast Cause Index to showcase their NPO and receive once-off or recurring online donations. 

“95% of our revenue streams come from donations, and of all of our donations 99% are made online via PayFast, our bank account and recently through SnapScan,” said Danny. 

To generate more cash flow, in late 2019 Ladles of Love launched an online food and merchandise store on their website, giving their supporters the opportunity to purchase a variety of goods via PayFast’s supported payment methods, in this instance credit card or Instant EFT, for a good cause. 

Feeding the homeless has become even more urgent under COVID-19 lockdown

When the government announced the COVID-19 lockdown regulations, Ladles of Love was able to keep operating because they are providing an essential service of feeding the homeless and needy. Under level 4 lockdown they were able to set up a food kitchen at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), allowing them to ramp up food collections and production to feed more people.

According to Danny, since lockdown began they have had to expand their operations exponentially, growing their food output from 1.2 tonnes weekly to over 18 tonnes. This converts to approximately 76,000 meals each week alone. They have estimated a total food output in April of 60 tonnes; meaning that they have ramped up their operations by 1,000%.

“There was exponential growth and support needed in such a short time to maintain Ladles of Love’s vision of serving highly nutritious, tasty food to as many people as we possibly can. It has also been important that during this time of huge expansion that we don’t become too corporate-like and that we stay true to our ethos of love, integrity and our primary purpose of serving those in need,” said Danny

“One of my biggest lessons with Ladles of Love is to follow your intuition and do the best you can; at times you just have to leave the rest to happen when and if it is meant to happen. If my gut feel tells me to follow a certain path, I will. If it sticks then we continue. If it doesn’t then I let it go knowing this wasn’t meant to be,” concluded Danny.

Ladles of Love is just one of 1,000s of charities and causes that have registered for a free PayFast Cause account, and as a result are benefiting from online donations. If you run a registered NPO, sign up for a free account at www.payfast.co.za

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