The Dennis Hurley Centre (DHC) was bustling with a pop up Street Market organised by Grace Family church. The annual event is designed to give the homeless an fun shopping experience. The volunteers was Melance Ndagijimana from Burundi who was shopping at the street market just one year ago.
“Last year they were helping me and this year I am free to help others” said Ndagijimana who is now employed full time.
Friend, Alison Brown said that Ndagijimana had joined Grace Family church shortly after last year’s market.
“I first met Melance when he was working as a car guard in a quiet area with a low income and he was coming to the Dennis Hurley Centre for meals. I told him about the street store. And a year later he is a member of our church and volunteering at the street market,” said Brown.
DHC Chaiperson, Paddy Kearney said that the day gave dignity to the homeless who could have a meal, massage, manicure and haircut in addition to theri shopping experience.
“It’s a great day for the homeless people and an unusual opportunity for them. It’s wonderful to see all these people being treated so well. We are delighted with the collaboration between Grace Family Church and Dennis Hurley Centre” said Kearney who added that the IEC was there to help people register to vote.
David Richter, missions and justice director at Grace Family Church in umhlanga said the initiative was inspired by love and a desire to rtecognise the most vulnerable in society who are often ignored.
“This is the fifth annual street store event where we give homeless folk a dignified shopping experience for free. Each shopper gets their own assistant who helps them find the right sized clothing,” he said.
The clothing was collected through donations from the church congregation who pitched in over one month.
“It filled a 6 meter shipping contained,” said Ritcher.
Volunteer, Manny Munnah said he had been there from 5:45am to assist. “It’s something you have to have a passion to do,” he added.