Durban charity serves “Meal of Reconciliation” to the poor

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The Denis Hurley Centre, an organisation that cares for the needy, has commemorated the Day of Reconciliation by providing meals to more than 300 homeless people and those from disadvantaged backgrounds in Durban.

The “Meal of Reconciliation” which is held annually during this time of the year also brings together different denominations and religious groups, and enhances the festive spirit of people to give back to communities in need.

The gathering seeks to embrace the true spirit of Christmas — which is giving and sharing as well as reconciling communities from different backgrounds. The homeless and those from poor communities also used the opportunity to express their emotions. Among them is Josephine Dinanakgil who says her situation is difficult and that she cannot even afford to put food on the table to send back home.

Dinanakgil’s wish is to buy a Christmas gift for her son.

“This gathering is a pleasure because at home we don’t have anything, and those who sponsored this help us every day. For me it’s like a blessing to be here because I don’t have anything for my son for Christmas. It’s my first time being unemployed and it’s not easy,” she says.

Elijah Mdluyi is a Mozambican citizen, who came to South African for greener pastures few years ago found himself homeless and unable to return home. Mdluyi says the meal came at the right time.

“This is my first to be in this kind of event and when I came here things are tough and I wish to have a good Christmas. My situations is bad but I am positive that things will change,” he says.

Racial unity 

Author Kemera Moodley, who is a dedicated donor to the Denis Hurley Centre, says her donations are determined by her book sales.

“This is my fifth book that I have released and I decided that all the profits from the sale of the book will go to Denis Hurley Centre because of the good work they do. I was able to raise R32 000 in December which I contributed to the centre. They are doing a good work for the homeless, and I wanted to contribute to the organisations that help the needy,” explains Moodley.

Director of the Denis Hurley Centre, Raymond Perrier, says the hearty meals they provide also bring unity among different racial groups.

“This meal is a way of all religions coming together, and we serve homeless people here five days a week, and we served 160 meals this year. This is a wonderful symbol and sign of how we can reconcile as a society,” Perrier says.

Perrier has encouraged communities to keep the ubuntu and the Christmas spirit alive by giving back to those in need.