Café Bellevue reopens to serve meals to the needy

Entering week 5 of the lockdown with restaurants still unable to open their doors to customers, Cafe Bellevue has decided to reopen its kitchens to cook food for the needy.

Since the beginning of the national lock-down in South Africa, no restaurant has been able to open for business,  and were all forced to close and send their staff home. When the country enters stage 4 of the lockdown, hopefully by the end of the week, restaurants will be allowed to reopen only for the delivery of food before the 8 pm curfew. These conditions of operation will no doubt not be feasible for many restaurants.

Hunger on the rise

Julika Falconer, CEO of Zero2Five says: ‘During this time of lockdown vulnerable communities around the Upper Highway Area have been battling. With schools closed and school meals scrapped, these food-insecure households have struggled to feed all the extra meals required in their homes. Hunger, malnutrition and social distress are on the rise.’

Entering week 5 of the lock-down, the Café Bellevue team is ready to tackle these challenges and make a difference. ‘We simply cannot stand by while the hunger crisis in our communities is so acute. Our team are also desperate to return to work and make a difference,’ says Guy Cluver, founder and owner of Café Bellevue. As of 28 April, the popular Bellevue kitchen will be turned into an operational kitchen to provide meals for the poor. The staff will come in small teams on a rotational basis to earn a daily cash wage and cook big pots of vegetables with either chicken or beef added for much-needed protein.

Bellevue restaurant reopens as a soup kitchen
Mpume Mhlongo of Café Bellevue puts chopped vegetables into a pot

These meals will be filled in five-litre buckets. The Willowton Group in Pietermaritzburg is kindly donating rice to this initiative and each family will receive a bucket comprising the meal and a bucket of rice.  

Zero2Five

The meals will be donated to the Zero2Five Trust, a Kloof based NPO. Zero2Five has established a large scale network and nutritional programme since 2014. Zero2Five set up feeding schemes, Early Childhood Development education programmes and community development projects in informal, mostly rural settlements, across KZN and in the Eastern Cape. The Zero2Five beneficiaries include crèches, after school programmes and community centres.  Under normal operating conditions, the various programmes support in the order of 17 000 children at their schools, every weekday.

In response to the emergence of Covid-19 and the resultant food crisis among the poorest communities, Zero2Five has launched a special #FilltheSchoolMealGap campaign to provide aid to the families whose livelihoods would be worst affected by the virus.

‘We strongly feel that we cannot let the children on our programmes down during lockdown and have restructured our operations to enable us to feed these children and their families at their homes. The response from our long-standing donors and the public was great and we are delighted to enter this partnership with Café Bellevue which will allow us to provide cooked meals instead of dry food items for a good change and extend our reach,’ says Falconer. 

‘We are extremely excited to be involved in this initiative.  We have a wonderful kitchen facility and team that is standing idle. Our waitering team, under the supervision of Head Chef Branden Huysamer will be responsible for the cooking of these meals. Our waitering team has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic as the bulk of their earnings come from tips, so this is a wonderful way to assist them as well. We are so fortunate to be able to make a difference during such trying times and we relish the opportunity to be involved in something so positive in such a negative time of our lives’

Cafe Bellevue reopens to cook meals for the needy
Julika Falconer, Guy Cluver, Nokubonga Hlongwane from Zero2Five and Head Chef Brenden Huysamer

Café Bellevue will now be cooking meals for the needy – the old and frail, people who have lost their jobs and hundreds of children who are no longer able to receive their meals at school. Please help them to keep cooking.  The goal is to provide 100 families with a meal and rice, every day Monday to Friday at their homes in their communities. There will be no collections from Bellevue Café.

How can you help?

There are two ways in which you can support this initiative:

Cash Donations

Donate via the Zapper Code or EFT into the Zero2Five trust bank account with reference “soup kitchen”. We will issue section 18 A tax certificates and provide our SED report for tax purposes for amounts donated in excess of R 500. We will use the cash donations to pay for food items needed, the staff who are working each day, the drivers, field workers and other operational costs of running a soup kitchen (gas, petrol, cleaning products, etc). 

Food Donations

Product donations of grains, vegetables, meat, spices, etc that can be included in  food donations can be dropped off at Bellevue Café, pedestrian gate in Bellevue Road, Kloof, Monday – Friday; 8am – 2pm. It will also accept any other donation that can be used in food parcels, hygiene parcels, etc.


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