The Helderberg Street People’s Centre in South Africa trades one bag of trash for a plate of nourishing, hot food.
Andy Loughton, 54, is more than just an owner of both a restaurant and a bakery. He’s a kind-hearted philanthropist and environmental advocate who goes out of his way to ensure the local homeless community is fed.
According to GoodThingsGuys, the South African entrepreneur became inspired to routinely help the homeless community after he organized a street clean-up approximately one year ago. In two hours, one hundred bags of rubbish was collected. Those who participated and picked up trash were rewarded with a boerewors roll (bread roll with a sausage made of meat mince) and a cool drink.
It was that experience that inspired him to make that kind of an exchange a routine happening. Since becoming a chairperson at Helderberg Street People’s Centre, he’s developed an empowering and innovative bartering system for those who are homeless in the Somerset West area.
The city’s waste management sponsors the blue bags which are handed out at approximately 8:30 a.m. every morning. A staff member records who takes a bag and writes a number on it so that people do not feel compelled to take trash out of a garbage can. One municipal bag of trash can be handed in for a hot meal. Five bags will result in a homeless person also receiving a blanket to protect them from the elements. Now that the idea has caught on, many grocery stores, businesses and charitable individuals donate food to the center to be redistributed.
“We have to create an opportunity for people to work. We have to stop feeling sorry for people and start helping them up.”
The activist hopes to inspire hope and self-respect in those who participate in the exchange. Ultimately, he wants them to break free from the cycle of poverty.
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