Ladles of Love hosted a 24-hour sandwich-making marathon on Sea Point promenade over the weekend to raise funds for the NPO.
From 1pm on Saturday until 1pm on Sunday sandwiches were made in Work & Co’s Nova workspace movable van.
The sandwiches were then distributed to some of Ladles of Love’s 138 beneficiary organisations which in turn fed hundreds of subsidiaries.
Ladles of Love founder, Danny Diliberto, said at the beginning of lockdown they had received many donations and had been able to build up a reserve and continue the work they have been doing over the past five months.
They were anticipating donor fatigue, he said, but they had not anticipated the increase in the number of hungry people. This, he said, was largely due to the fact that many businesses had closed and unemployment had risen, causing many people to slip under the breadline.
Not one to shy away from a challenge, Mr Diliberto committed to spending 24 hours making sandwiches. To support the sarmiethon, people were asked to sponsor him or buy time slots of 30 minutes to make sandwiches with him.
One of those who made sandwiches is Barbara Bont of Edgemead.
“It’s an honour and I feel special,” she said, “And I even told my family overseas.”
Other participants stood the chance of winning prizes in a raffle draw.
Mr Diliberto’s mother Jannine Diliberto was also there. “When he began I wasn’t aware of how many hungry people there are. The saddest thing is seeing little children coming with big eyes and looking so hungry. Times are tough,” said Ms Diliberto.
In July 2014, Mr Diliberto started cooking pots of soup every Tuesday from the restaurant he co-founded, Doppio Zero, in St George’s Mall.
The Ladles of Love kitchen was opened in July 2019 at Hope Exchange in Roeland Street and by March 2020, they were serving about 14 000 meals a month. And then Covid-19 hit.
Unable to cope in cramped conditions, the Cape Town International Conference Centre (CTICC) sponsored the 1 500m² exhibition hall. When the lease ran out they moved on Freedom Day, Monday April 27, into GrandWest’s 2 600m² Sun Exhibit hall. The sponsorship runs out at the end of October. If business does not pick up they are hoping to continue operating from there, said Mr Diliberto.
He said volunteer numbers had declined since the move from the CTICC. One reason is that many people have returned to work, he said, and the other is that GrandWest is more efficient because they have a forklift and more space to move the goods.
After completing the challenge, Mr Diliberto launched the Sarmie Army initiative and challenged companies, groups, clubs, schools to join him by buying peanut butter, jam and bread and making sandwiches. Those participating are encouraged to take pictures, post them on social media, tagging Ladles of Love, and challenge others to better them. The first challenge began on Monday September 14.
Mr Diliberto’s goal with the sarmiethon was to raise R1 million. By late morning on Sunday September 13 they had reached R100 000, and counting.
“We created a lot of awareness and it was a fun event,” said Mr Diliberto.
To volunteer, visit Ladlesoflove.org.za