A history of service comes to an end

After 79 years of serving meals and making a difference, the SAVF Dundee Service Centre will be closing its doors on June 30.

Originally opened in 1938 as the NCVV, the centre moved to its current premises on Gray Street in 1988 and then became a part of the SAVF in 2003. Eventide later joined the SAVF in 2010. While many didn’t know what the centre did, they were a huge blessing to SASSA grantees and elderly residents around the area. The centre provided healthy and hearty home-cooked meals at a fraction of a price.

In an attempt to raise more funds for the centre, they recently offered the service out to all residents of the town. Residents could have a meal at the centre for only R25. Elderly residents got meals at a cheaper rate for only R20 and SASSA pensioners only paid R5 for a healthy meal. The centre was a run by a manger, two staff members and a group of volunteers, who gave of their own time to make a difference to others.

Sadly, rising costs and dwindling numbers meant that the centre had to raise costs of meals to R10 for SASSA grantees, a fee many could not afford.

Gert de Lange, one of the volunteers at the centre said that a year ago, they fed roughly 40 to 50 people a day. Now, they feed 15 to 20 a day. Despite even delivering meals to residents at the homes or workplaces, the numbers continued to drop.

To complicate matters, the Department of Social Development stopped subsidising the meals, meaning that the centre couldn’t afford to be operational anymore. Mr de Lange added that even though they were dependent on donations, all of which they were extremely grateful for, it was not enough to keep the centre running.

The last meal will be served on June 30.
The building has already been sold to a Dundee entrepreneur and the furniture and items in the centre will be sold at a public auction during the second half of July.
After 79 years of making a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, a piece of Dundee history will be sadly closing its doors.

Byron Pillay

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