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South Africa: Feeding the homeless affected by Covid

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South Africa

Volunteers in South Africa are feeding needy people on a sports field where stray bullets from gang warfare are a daily hazard.

The group, in Lavender Hill outside Cape Town, hand out food to homeless people and children every day.

They feed some 300 people twice a day, after the COVID-19 pandemic placed a huge financial burden on the country with many people needing aid.

But Lavender Hill is situated in the infamous 'Cape Flats,' an area known for its high crime rate and gang wars.

The feeding scheme happens on a football pitch that is known as the battlefield – because it's a place where gangs fight each other.

Mark Nicholson, a coach with Lavender Hill Sports Club, runs the NGO working with children in the Cape Flats area.

"We've got four rival gangs that is fighting each other and the shooting usually happens, the crossfire goes over the field," Nicholson said.

"We are actually currently feeding on the battlefield, which is our feeding place every day."

The COVID-19 restrictions have shuttered South Africa's already declining economy, with millions of people living in poverty.

Henry Mare, a 43-year-old homeless man, said times are tough.

"A lot of churches are closed, where we used to go and we find food there," he said.

"So we must rather come here and even with the gangsterism going on, we're going through that and we trust in God that he's going to keep us safe and that we can have something to eat."