A Heideveld businessman has been spreading Ramadaan cheer by feeding his community out of his own pocket.
Mogamat Allie Manuel says the crowd went “from 40 to 400” in just two weeks.
More than 500 residents were fed a lekker meal on Wednesday evening in Peak Road, sitting at tables and bankies set up in the street.
The residents were served fruit, lamb akni, boeber, bollas, koeksisters, samoosas and daltjies for iftaar.
Manuel, 48, says when he was brought to his knees, it gave him an opportunity to put his head on the ground and pray to the Almighty.
He says he was humbled when his successful recycling business, Allie’s Recycling, took a major knock in March last year.
He had five recycling plants and four closed down.
The family of five lost almost everything, including their larney home in Surrey Estate, and had to move into the new Heideveld housing scheme with almost nothing.
The dad of three says he was forced to reconsider his life, and this is what drives him now to do good unto others.
Since the first day of Ramadaan, Manuel and his family have started feeding people meals in the area, using what little money he makes from his remaining recycling plant.
“I think it was just a message from God. The moment I started feeding people, things in my life just got better.
“My business is starting up again and the more I serve the community, the better things seem to get,” he says happily.
He says at first they stood outside and fed between 20 to 40 people, but then he saw there was a real need in his community and soon he was feeding over 400 mense at a time.
“This has also brought a sense of community back. We talk and we help each other.
“There is a respect that was not here before. I’m going to do this every day of my life now. Giving has given me so much.”
Manuel employs women in the community to prepare the meals.
“We have grown as a community, by simply caring. Our children are safer and everyone has something to eat. I have learnt that we should never take that for granted,” he adds.