Good deeds on themenu while dining with a purpose

Helen Crooks

SOCIAL EVENT: Diners at the Samaritans lunch held on Wednesday were, from left, Pat Kirkham, Nan de Jager and Edith Iversen. Volunteer waitress Marie Jackson took their orders. PHOTOGRAPH: HELEN CROOKS
SOCIAL EVENT: Diners at the Samaritans lunch held on Wednesday were, from left, Pat Kirkham, Nan de Jager and Edith Iversen. Volunteer waitress Marie Jackson took their orders. PHOTOGRAPH: HELEN CROOKS

WHILE it may be the subject of derision for some, Beauty with a Purpose has been around for over 40 years now. The brainchild of Julia Morley, various Miss Worlds have followed the theme to raise funds for disadvantaged children around the world.

Somewhat lower key, there is a scheme in Port Elizabeth which has been quietly going about its business for over 20 years and which could be aptly described as Food with a Purpose.

The scheme in question involves weekly lunches held at a family home in 11thAvenue Walmer, where meals are not only unbelievably reasonably priced, but also all profits are pumped into local charities.

Celebrating its 20thanniversary in May, the tea garden and gift shop is run by the Samaritans, an inter-denominational group founded by the late Mrs Francis Exley more than 60 years ago.

Today, the project is headed up by Lynn Wanwig who, with the aid of volunteers, organises the teas and lunches which are served between 10am and 2pm every Wednesday.

Bearing in mind that, while the aim is to raise funds for charity, a lot of pensioners enjoy the lunches so much that they become social gatherings, prices are kept to a bare minimum.

They do not have an extensive menu and offer simple light meals. For instance a cup of tea will cost you just R6 while, if the cake of the day is your fancy that will set you back just R10. There’s also delicious homemade scones with cream and jam or three caramel tartlets with cream for R8.

Moving away from the sweet stuff, there’s toasted sandwiches from R14, with assorted salads selling for R5 and if you fancy something a little more substantial there’s a chicken pancake with two salads for R27 or fish with a baked potato for R30.

There are also dishes of the day like bobotie which, again, sell at prices that do not break the bank.

But low cost lunches are not where it stops. Members of the Samaritans get together every second Tuesday to make handcrafts which are also sold at the tea garden.

There’s adorable hand-knitted bunnies for R40, baby booties for R10, toy trucks and all sorts of other goodies including homemade marmalade for R25 and beautiful throws/wraps for R30.

Throughout the year the Samaritans also host fundraising teas on request for specific charities. Another thing which is not to be missed is their Christmas Shop (held in November and is well worth diarising even this early in the year as gifts and table decorations are cheap and very cheerful) held in aid of Christmas Cheer.

The gifts are mostly handmade and include knitted toys, plush toys, knitted babies jerseys, aprons, table cloths and table runners. Prices of both the food and gifts are kept low as their predominant support base are the elderly from the surrounding retirement homes. All members of the Samaritans are volunteers and are not paid for their services.

All profits made throughout the year are distributed to various charities at the end of each year.

For more information about the Samaritans, or to book a table at the weekly lunches (booking is highly recommended) contact Lynn Wanvig on (041) 368-3390 or e-mail her at lynnwanvig@gmail.com.

The Samaritans tea garden operates from 12 11thAvenue, Walmer and is not signposted. It is almost directly opposite the Pop Shop, and the friendly car guards will direct you to the right spot.

Leave a Reply

Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment moderation policy. Your email address is required but will not be published.