The Net plans to expand feeding of street people

House mother Debbie Cox in The Net’s kitchen.

The Net, a non-profit organisation that helps people get off the streets, plans to expand its feeding programme.

The Net’s house mother, Debbie Cox, said the withdrawal from Fish Hoek last month by U-Turn, an organisation helping street people, meant there was a need to feed the homeless on weekdays (“U-Turn pulls out of Fish Hoek,” Echo March 2).

U-Turn operated from Monday to Friday from 8.30am to 4.30pm and provided the homeless with lunch sponsored by My Father’s House, a community food kitchen in Simon’s Town, while The Net provided food on the weekends.

Ms Cox said The Net currently gave the homeless breakfast on Saturdays and lunch on Sundays sponsored by local churches.

On Saturdays, a resident at The Net cooks the food for Sunday lunch. The churches collect the food and, with the help of volunteers, serve it in the parking lot behind the Caltex petrol station.

According to Ms Cox, The Net is now talking to volunteers about running the weekday food programme, but it will need sponsorship and more volunteers.

Those seeking admission to The Net’s shelter – where they get three meals a day – must be employed, be drug and alcohol-free, and be in a position to pay for accommodation, she said.

The Net is currently home to 18 residents. They are given a set of their own keys and must monitor electricity usage and follow a basic set of house rules. They have the use of a kitchen on the premises and are responsible for doing their own laundry.

Residents also have a one-one session with the in-house social worker once a week and trauma counselling is also available.

Newly appointed operations manager Anna Els said The Net helped each individual according to their needs, and skills training, work-readiness programmes, self-improvement, and spiritual sessions were part of that.

The Net founder Carolyn Axmann said: “I’m appreciative of everyone in the team for their hard work in 2022 and I’m looking forward to a new season under the leadership of Anna.”

U-Turn spokesman Stephen Underwood said they had no immediate plans to return to Fish Hoek but they did intend to open a shop in Fish Hoek that would be staffed by U-Turn programme participants.

For more information about The Net or if you want to volunteer, call Ms Els at 073 355 6807.