The Porridge Storage centre in the Havana informal settlement was filled with laughter, musical renditions, bright smiles and cheer as children in the area receive their meal. The centre, which was founded in June 2019 by Martha Festus (21), feeds children as young as one and as old as 16 years at least three times a week. The Porridge Storage envisions zero hunger for all children for them to pursue their education and become future leaders of this country.
“My mother and I started feeding less-fortunate children in the area, and the numbers started increasing as children informed others about the Porridge Storage,” recalled Festus. She said a sharp increase was observed since May of 2020, as many parents lost jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Festus noted that more than 300 children show up to the Porridge Storage on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays – but unfortunately, food sometimes runs out and some children go back home without having received a meal. The initiative strives to reach every child – not only in the informal settlements of Havana but other areas as well – to give them a warm, healthy meal and encouragement for a better future.
Festus said they are lucky to have individuals such as Matthew Mvula assisting them. Mvula (32) told Youth Corner it is very important for the nation to come together and build one another, adding that giving is a cycle – and when one gives, they always brighten up someone’s day because what most need is a warm meal, proper clothing and adequate shelter.
“We have to start somewhere. A few years ago, I had a friend, Alina David, who loved feeding the needy. After she passed on, I decided to continue where she left off, and started to move around with food packages in the boot of my car.
“This is until I came across Festus’ project. It felt personal, and I decided to join them recently with a variety of nutritious food and juice. This is a project I fully endorse.”The food includes porridge, rice, cabbage, carrots, potatoes, meat and fat cakes. “This was my second time contributing to the cause, and friends who loved what I did also came through to assist us with what they had,” said Mvula.