The Eatery, Cape Town’s Den Anker, was known for its atmosphere and good food. With no sit-in dining for the moment, the eatery is now known for its good food and food for good

The Belgian seafood restaurant runs a soup kitchen, feeding 8 000 people a week. The soup kitchen is run on donations and the goodwill of a community doing their part.

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An empty kitchen and hearts full of compassion

Like many restaurants across South Africa, the boutique restaurant was hard hit by the lockdown. While contemplating the loss of income, loss of staff and the impact of COVID-19 on the future, Rejeanne Vlietman General Manager Den Anker was inspired to put the empty kitchen to good use, feeding the poor and vulnerable of Cape town.

“With our own teams being sent home into lockdown and the rising need for food security, we considered the fact that we have a fully functional kitchen. A few of us with the wish to use up some time in our day for the good of others, it didn’t make sense to sit at home and consider that there are people out there going hungry,” she says. 

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Den Anker meal kits are more than just food in a box

Although the idea may have come from Rejeanne, she says the soup kitchen is run with the support of the Den Anker community who have given their time, donated food and donated money for the running of the soup kitchen when ordering their meal kits from the restaurant. 

“Being in the location we’re in and serving the type of food that we do, we felt that takeaways wouldn’t really do justice to the Den Anker experience, so we decided to create meal kits that people could cook quite easily at home – and have some fun while doing it!”

In addition to putting smiles on customers’ faces, the DIY meal kits also serve a greater purpose – that of helping some of Cape Town’s most vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At the moment we are running a soup kitchen from the restaurant, which feeds 80 000 people a week,” says Rejeanne. “To help fund this initiative, diners that order the meal kit have the option to donate R10 when they make their payment online, which will pay for four meals at the soup kitchen.”

Den Anker
Wagyu burger DIY meal kit Image supplied by Den Anker

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Finding a little joy

Although we are all faced with uncertainty while adapting to a new way of life, Rejeanne says working in the soup kitchen has been a fulfilling experience and she hopes to work with an NGO in the future to create a sustainable community project to feed Cape Town’s poor.

“We would like to connect with NGO’s once this is over the worst and assist with food going forward as well as offer guidance within the vulnerable community spaces, offering assistance in setting up micro businesses where those with the want and the interest can create a sustainable operation for their and their community benefit,” she says.

Donate to Den Anker’s soup kitchen by ordering a meal kit on Facebook and adding a donation to your cost. Choose between Den Ankers famous Wagyu burgers, mussels and chips sweet pea butternut and chickpea curry and Ganbas Pili Pili all with Brussels waffles for dessert and take all the credit for your gourmet meal.*Delivery only available in limited areas

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