Keeping youth well fed and out of trouble

An Athlone youth spends her free time making sure the underprivileged are fed by hosting soup kitchen drives in the area.

Jamie Lakey, 26, and her partner, Kyle Mulder, started the project called Fresh DJ’s two years ago, initially as an events company at different clubs, but decided to expand the project by doing outreach work in Bokmakierie and Athlone.

The first soup kitchen was launched on Mandela Day (July 18) two years ago and there has been three other soup kitchens so far.

Jamie said the soup kitchens are well supported and about 30 to 40 children come out on the day. Last year the pair hosted a fun day for the children of Bokmakierie where there were games, a car show, hotdogs, and sweets.

Besides the soup kitchen they also host clothing and toy drives.

Asked what has kept her motivated to continue with the project, she said: “My passion for children. My mom is a nurse and she has worked in less fortunate areas. I really want to make a difference in the kids’ lives and show them that there are people who care and things are better out there. We are hoping to improve their circumstances.

“We know a lot of the kids so they are comfortable with us. We don’t just hand out clothes, we actually do things with them,” she said.

Jamie and Kurt also started working with Breaking Barriers Community Outreach in Athlone last year to assist with the aftercare, and also started dancing classes twice or thrice a month for the girls to have something to do on a Saturday.

The pair also assists with fund-raising and with the Bokmakierie boys’ soccer club where Jamie assists with the donation of soccer balls or trophies for tournaments.

“We have no major sponsors, we just ask people to donate and we get assistance from our family and friends,” she said.

Jamie said she will be hosting a Youth Day mini carnival on Youth Day, Saturday June 16, on the field next to Bokmakierie Primary School, from 8am to 5pm. There will be music, rappers, face painting, hair spraying, and she is hoping to get a horse and cart to take the children on rides.

Jamie appealed to the community to donate their time to outreach work.

“More people need to come on board with projects such as these, especially our Youth Day event. To make a success of it, we need support from more people so that we can reach more children,” she said.

Call Jamie on 076 244 0713 if you can help.