With soup kitchen, Food Box, Saviour Servants bring love, hope to needy
Agor Isug is a single mother, and one of the beneficiaries of Food Box, an initiative of Saviour Servants King (SSK) Ministry. The programme has transformed her life. In order to make ends meet, the mother of a three-year-old son started selling provisions and alcoholic sachet drinks.
She knew it was a difficult thing to sell, because of her customers, who were mostly drug and drink addicts. But she was determined to live above poverty line.SSK has made a commitment with her that she no longer sells the alcoholic drinks and will provide her with 12 months foodbox to support her.
Isug said she would like to learn how to bake in order to be a caterer. In fact, the ministry has said it will put down N10, 000 for the training programme when the time comes.
Another beneficiary of the Food Box is Adebayo Ibrahim. He works as a security officer with income of N15,000 and suffers from epileptic fits.The monthly foodbox will help him feed properly as the little money he earns goes towards paying for his medication. SSK foodbox will be provided to him for a period of 12 months.
Ibrahim also said that the monthly foodbox would help him concentrate more in life. He will like to start a business (selling water, soft drinks and biscuits). Later on this year, when the time comes, SSK will put down N10,000 to kick off the business for him.
Earlier this year, when SSK started its FoodBox, which aimed at meeting indigent person’ culinary needs, the not-for-profit organisation showed its determination to remove poverty from the streets of Nigeria.
Nigeria still remains one of the poorest countries in the world with over 112 million of its population (64.1%) living below poverty line, a United Nations report said.
The report said number of people living in poverty increased from 69 million in 2004 to 112 million in 2010 – a rise of 69 per cent.According to reports, poverty and hunger have remained high in rural areas, remote communities and among female-headed households and these cut across the six geo-political zones, with prevalence ranging from approximately 46.9 per cent in the South West to 74.3 per cent in North West and North East.
The report also revealed that 37 per cent of children under five years old were stunted, 18 per cent wasted, 29 per cent underweight and overall, only 10 per cent of children aged six and 23 months are fed appropriately based on recommended infant and young children feeding practices.
It said youth unemployment, which is about 45 per cent in 2016, is creating poverty; helplessness, despair and easy target for crime and terrorism with over 10 million children of school age out of schools with no knowledge and skills.
Funmi Dada is the brain behind SSK. She is equally a pastor at the Glory House. Born in the United Kingdom, she came back home and lived in Lagos. She attended the University of Lagos, where she read Business Administration. She did her compulsory national service with Mobil, and left after NYSC and spent 17 years in the UK again before coming back to start the NGO.
She believes the kitchen is at the heart of every home, where love and nourishment are dished out in the form of food, advice and life lessons. In order for children to have the confidence to achieve their full potential, they must be encouraged at an early age to develop their strengths and talents.
Created in June 2016, Dada said, “the objectives for which the ministry was established include: To operate as a charitable organisation directed towards the alleviation of hunger among the less privileged by providing conducive environment where their dreams could be fulfilled and to transform lives and give hope to the hopeless by organising counselling programmes and sessions for the less privileged in various aspect of need, including, but not limited to spiritual counselling, counselling against traumatic experience, counselling against depression, psychological and emotional counseling.”
She said other objectives include, “to establish and run a food bank and to distribute this food to the less privileged and to operate and manage a soup kitchen for the provision of free meals to the less privileged and to visit and provide free meals and groceries for the less privileged in hospitals, prisons, destitute homes and to other less privileged communities.”
Her interest in human development began at early age, when she found it difficult going to school because of children of her age hawking.“I often cried about this,” she confessed. “It was this suffering that I saw people go through from tender age that has motivated me to start this.”
The lady, who has taken after her mother, a woman with a charitable heart, said a lot of people don’t have and the ones that have is not enough. “The little they have, they can’t afford to share.”
While explaining that SSK was established as a not for profit organisation, Dada pointed out, “we seek to execute our ministry in a manner consistent with Christian teaching.”Every two months, the ministry holds soup kitchen, where the less privileged are provided with food items. “Though, we would have loved to have it more frequently, for now it’s limited to that time frame. We target those on the street with no fixed address. We partner with local Buka (Mama Put), who takes care of their feeding at least once a day.”
From Soup Kitchen, those who need Food Box worth about N10,000 every month for one year are targetted. After the 12 months, they graduate. By then, they should be able to stand on their feet.
The pastor said, “after six months, reports and interaction will lead to commitment of certain amount for the purpose of starting their business. Last year, one of the first beneficiaries of the project, Mr Ossai Azubuike was loaned about N90,000 to get a motorcycle.”
She said, “ Ossai came to us when he needed a new motorbike in order to continue with his Okada business. SSK assessed him and it was based on his integrity, commitment and the hardwork to his local church that we decided to sponsor him.”
According to her, “what we have done so far is within the Maryland, Mende and Anthony axis. Currently, three people are supported in the island. When we get a call about a needy person, we move in to discuss and subsequently help.”
Dada added, “within the months, we watch out to see whether there is skill that they could be empowered with.”The ministry partners with other churches, whether Anglican, Pentecostal or spiritual for its various outreaches, “To sort donated food ready for distribution, to help meet clients and give out food at the foodbank, to help out at a foodbank supermarket collection day and to provide counselling to clients,” said Dada.
As part of its healing process, Isug and Ibrahim now fellowship at the Redeemer’s Place 1 – Goshen (RCCG) VI, where they are counseled, given spiritual food and monitored.For the lady, it will be a bit challenging unless there are sponsors. “We are dependent on the generosity of partners to help serve the needs of those less privileged in the local communities,” she said. “We rely solely on the donation of time, money, and goods from individuals, groups, small businesses, and corporations.”
The joy of coming from a loving home has sustained the ministry. My parents brought us up in love and we are very close and intimate. We are bonded by love, which our parents taught us. This has impacted on the ministry.”
Currently, her parents are one of the sponsors. “They are also very strong partners. They go out of their way to invest in the ministry, because I’m impacting life and they see the joy it brings to me and the impact it has on the project.”Other sponsors include, Mrs. Sola Adeoti, Mr. and Mrs. Segun George and Stargate Jets, Dr. (Mrs.) T. Phillips, Mrs. D. Hameed and Mrs. Funke Adediran and Mrs. Efe Etomi.
She added, “the 9 to 5 job is just an aside. SSK is my ministry. I’ll like to focus on the NGO full time. The job is a challenge, because I’m using all my resources to fund the ministry and support the project.”
Her impression of Nigeria?“It has a rich culture. There are opportunities in this land, which can be tapped if you open your eyes. I love the people, but I’m baffled by the greed, corruption and wickedness in the land,” she said.
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