- The Haven gives over 400 people a meal every Wednesday and to some, that is the only meal they have
- Eurina quit her job to focus on the center and has dedicated her life to helping those in need
- The center runs purely off donations and homes over 26 people
In East London over 400 people in Parkridge line up every Wednesday, outside the Haven Wellness Centre. They line up in these long queues to get a meal, a meal that is probably their only one of the day and even the week.
Eurina “Totsie” Stowman and her late husband George started the center back in 2005.
Eurina gives every second of her day to the center and even left her job in order to give more time to people in need.
The center accommodates and tries to assist in helping the fighting against women and child abuse, poverty, substance abuse and the stigma around HIV/Aids.
She has no regrets and loves her time at the center.
“When I started this center I was at my lowest. We have had so many challenges but we don’t want to speak about them, we are just hungry to make a change and because we trust God.”
The center is a judgment free zone where anyone is welcome.
“I saw a need for all of these services. This is their first police station. We are the lighthouse of this community.”
Briefly.co.za gathered that there is also a baby branch which helps provide baby clothes, food, nappies and other items.
There is also an HIV/Aids and a women’s support group, an edu-care service, the weekly feeding scheme and elderly care services.
Elizabeth Orai is a 66 year old woman who queues every Wednesday for her meal.
“Whenever we need something we come here because we are unemployed and we have no food.”
It all started with one bed 13 years back and now they have 26 patients, with three female wards and one male ward.
Bevin Samuels, SA Idols finalist, is a weekly volunteer at the center.
“I feel strongly about giving back because the community made me who I am,” he said. Ruwyne Tembu, 20, who started going to the center when he was 17 years old, is now a male caregiver at the center.”
“I used to come here every day after school because I didn’t have food at home. This place is very helpful to many people. I used to bring my friends who were experiencing things such as abuse.”
An East London couple Carrol and Clive Warmburg donated the building that the center runs from. They donated it in memory of their late son.
The center is not government funded, so it survives solely on hand outs from donations from a popular retailer, friends and family members.
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