A young police officer is helping feed elderly community members who have been impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) in the township of Kraaifontein in Cape Town.
South African Police Service Constable Kwyo Louw (26) has started a food donation drive for the elderly in his community. Louw says many elderly people in his area are dependent on soup kitchens and because of the transport restrictions that were initially enforced during the national lockdown, they battled to get there.
“They would go to bed hungry because they had no one to send to get food for them. I chose to bring the food to the people,” he says.
The food donations – made up of vegetables, starches and other basic goods – are coordinated through the KraaiLove WhatsApp group Louw created. The seven-member group finds struggling families and alerts Louw to their plight. Louw then organises food for the group through his contacts. Once that is done, the food is then handed over to the families.
In addition to supplying food parcels, the police officer also runs two soup kitchens which feed over 600 people. The KraaiLove WhatsApp group members also help people with sanitisation to keep themselves safe from the virus.
Louw says the community is riddled with drugs and crime, which is what motivated him to start community development initiatives. “I want to make a difference in my community because when I was growing up here, I would regularly see people selling drugs and witness people being killed in front me. This pushed me to become a community worker,” Louw says.
He hopes to extend his outreach work to people living with addiction and says rather than chasing them away, he would like to assist them with food parcels.
The work done by Louw to develop his community recently earned him a surprise call from the Western Cape MEC of Community Safety, Albert Fritz. Fritz said Louw showcases that the role of a police officer is not simply enforcement but also to look out for those most vulnerable and play a part in addressing socio-economic challenges.