A close 11km outside of Grahamstown,on the N2 towards Port Elizabeth, opposite the turn off to Salem and the sea, lies Salem Crossroads Christian Care Centre. ‘Salem Crossroads’, as it is more commonly known, has been providing an invaluable service to the Grahamstown area (and beyond) for almost 37 years.
In 1982, Mr Noel Banfield, had a vision to provide a place of care for men of all ethnic backgrounds, where, through the power of Jesus Christ, they could find healing and recover from the circumstances which had resulted in them becoming estranged from family, friends and society in general. And so he purchased the property on which Salem Crossroads is located. Mr Banfield placed the farm into a trust which, since he passed away, is overseen by a board of governors. Transparency and accountability are key aspects of the activities of the farm. The board meets regularly to discuss the financial situation of the farm and plan for the future sustainability of the centre. In 2019 the farm still functions in line with Mr Banfield’s vision.
A number of our residents have ended up on the fringes of society due to addiction issues. The farm is kept drug and alcohol free. Residents run the risk of being asked to leave if they are found to be abusing substances and random drug testing is performed regularly. Those residents with addiction issues are offered the opportunity of going through a rehabilitation at SATU, the Substance Abuse Treatment Unit at Fort England Hospital.
The farm has two primary sources of income. Firstly the income provided by sales at the Farm Stall, and secondly, the propagation nursery provides a large variety of plants for sale at extremely reasonable prices. Plants are sold from the nursery directly, from the Farm Stall itself, and from regular sales trips to towns on the coast. We alternate between Kenton-On-Sea and Port Alfred on Saturdays. All of our residents are expected to contribute by working in one of the areas of the farm, so all the men have a structured day that keeps them busy.
These sources of income are not adequate to cover a centre that offers food and shelter to 25 men from diverse backgrounds. We therefore are forced to charge each resident a monthly rental of R950. Some of our residents can cover that cost from state pensions and disability grants. However there are always men who do not have access to any source of income. We are reliant on the generosity of a variety of donors to cover their costs. A local church has made a commitment to support one resident per month and a regular donation from a Cape Town based ‘angel’ covers the costs of another.
A second property was purchased by Noel Banfield prior to his passing, this being 34 York Street in Grahamstown, which can house a further 9 men.
We are extremely grateful to those who have supported our cause over the years and due to their generosity we have been able to improve the living conditions of all the residents at Salem Crossroads. If you feel moved to support our organisation by donations of clothes, bedding, toiletries, furniture or anything else that you able to donate, are gratefully accepted. Another way in which you could support us is by making a commitment to sponsor a specific resident, who cannot afford the rental of R950 per month that we require to cover most of the costs involved.
Salem Crossroads has been operating, by the Grace of God, for a significant period of time and we always welcome men and women (who are so led), to partner with us in providing an invaluable service to the community.
For any further information contact: Wessel Pretorius 0646772446 or Selwyn van der Merwe 0765522790. Our email address is as follows: firstname.lastname@example.org