Danny attended a course through the Art of Living foundation in 2014, and was inspired to do his part to transform society by instilling human values and a sense of community.
Danny began by getting his restaurant, Doppio Zero in the Cape Town CBD, to make soup which he handed out to homeless people. One particularly important event was handing soup to a homeless man on Long Street during the AOL course an action that briefly gave the man back some of his intrinsic human dignity.
“I realised that homeless people are just like you and me, and that restoring some of their dignity could have lasting effects,” he says. “We began serving soup regularly on a chilly Tuesday evening in July 2014.”
“I recall our first Tuesday soup kitchen, when a bunch of volunteers jumped onto some bicycles and rode the city in search of hungry homeless people. That night outside Doppio Zero on St George’s Mall in Cape Town we served 70 meals, and what started with feeding one person has now become a full-blown operation providing thousands of meals for the homeless. It was after our Mandela Day Drive in July 2015 that we realised we had to find a name that was worthy of the cause and so Ladles of Love came into being.”
In May of 2015 Danny connected with an organisation called U-Turn, which provides meals and tries to rehabilitate homeless people. Every week, U-Turn supplies food for the Ladles of Love soup kitchen.
In August 2015, Danny was approached by a homeless woman who was working closely with a local carpentry shop as a way to rehabilitate herself. Part of her recovery was to run a soup kitchen with the support of the carpenter shop.
“She approached me and asked me to supply her the raw food which she would prepare for a soup kitchen every Saturday on Roeland Street. However, after a few weeks, she was no longer able to do the preparation so Ladles of Love stepped into the breach,” explains Danny. In this way, Ladles of Love acquired its second venue. The Roeland Street soup kitchen now serves around 100 meals every Saturday.
Earlier on in June that same year, Danny attempted to launch a soup kitchen in the Seapoint area but was met with much resistance. After some months of negotiating, he was able to launch the third Ladles of Love soup kitchen in November 2015 at the Haven shelter in Napier Street. It runs every Thursday.
“Funding will become important in 2016 as Ladles of Love becomes involved in sustainable projects, the first of which is the purchasing of a shipping container, which costs in the region of R20,000,” says Danny. “This container will store equipment for the garden run by Kulisa in Harrington Street. The garden is maintained by homeless people who sell the produce to local restaurants.”
Other uses for the container could be to store recyclable material, initially from Doppio Zero, which would generate some money for those who do collect it. A soap factory has also been suggested.
“I’d also like to start offering free showers and laundry facilities for the homeless sometime,” says Danny. “The idea would be that these services would help to restore their dignity, and prompt them to make the move off the street.”