Taking to the streets

Danny Diliberto sleep on the streets for two nights to raise awareness about homelessness.

“I often get told that I’m enabling the homeless people to remain on the streets by giving them a bowl of food, but if we stop feeding them, they will become more desperate and aggressive in their begging and where would they go?”

This is the view of Danny Diliberto, founder of the soup kitchen Ladles of Love. He will be putting himself in the shoes of the homeless for two nights this November when he takes on a 48-hour-challenge to live on the streets of Cape Town with no money, credit card or phone and no outside assistance.

The aim of this challenge is to change the narrative on homelessness and get the conversation about the issue started.

Mr Diliberto said homelessness is a world-wide problem and he wants to bring the issue to the forefront.

“I want to show people how difficult it is to get off the streets. I want them to look at this issue from a different perspective and know that everyone can make a difference,” he said.

Mr Diliberto, who will start the challenge on Thursday November 29, said during the two nights he will connect with the homeless and learn their stories. He said he will involve other organisations which help homeless people get off the streets.

He said he wants to know their limits as shelters have criteria and rules and a lot of homeless people don’t like the rules.

Mr Diliberto said he doesn’t support giving money because they usually use it for drugs. “There are many ways we can help them; it would be great if we could bring up their self-esteem, they can start thinking better about themselves. We all need to start somewhere,” he said.

He said he has always been passionate about giving back to the less fortunate but he never really knew how to do it.

“I remember being in a breathing and meditation class and I heard the Sankrit word ‘Seva’, which means selfless service. I realised that it was what I wanted to do,” he said.

Mr Diliberto said it was a homeless person who made him realise that a cup of soup could restore someone’s dignity even if for a few minutes and he never looked back.

He is hoping to raise R40 000 – enough to sponsor another 4 000 meals at his kitchens for the homeless. He is calling on the public to do something, no matter how small, to help the less fortunate.

Ladles of Love has been serving the homeless community for over four years now, providing a hot, tasty and healthy meal in three locations each week: St George’s Mall in the Cape Town CBD on a Tuesday, The Haven Night Shelter in Green Point on a Thursday and The Carpenter’s Shop in Roeland Street in the CBD on a Saturday. Donations to date are just over R25 000. To get involved, visit: www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/project/homeless-in-cape-town-the-48hr-challenge