Elizabeth van Neel, fondly known as Cindy, started work in the St. Joseph’s kitchen in October 1989, at the tender age of 21. She clearly remembers a tall and vital Sr Simone fetching her on her first day from Cape Town station. Her work in the kitchen was hard but rewarding. She learnt lots of cooking and organisational skills from the sisters and chefs working in the kitchen and was taught the invaluable lesson of avoiding food wastage.
‘I see a lot of changes over the years, and it was also for the good of the kids. I used to go to the Daisy ward in the evenings and spend time with the kids suffering from cancer. It gives me a lot of joy to see them get better and go home, and I cry for those that die.’
Cindy was tempted to work in the wards and be closer to the children but decided against it. She doesn’t regret it. She knows that she can love and spoil the children in her very special way, through providing delicious meals and the occasional treats. Thirty-four years later Cindy is the SJH kitchen supervisor leading a team of 6. Apart from catering for regular SJH functions, this amazing group of 2 men and 5 women prepare and cook 3 meals a day for 175 children, 7 days a week! That’s over 191 000 meals per year. Thank-you Cindy, we could not do without you!
‘I really enjoy what I am doing. I like to make the children happy. I am their Cake Aunty!’