Giving food the way to her heart

2016-02-16 06:00
Mary Bam from Lavender Hill says she finds joy in helping community members with food.

Mary Bam from Lavender Hill says she finds joy in helping community members with food.

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Mary Bam (59) from Montague Village in Lavender Hill says helping her neighbours makes her sleep better at night. Nothing can beat her smile when she knows that someone is going home with a full stomach.

Known as Aunty Mary, she says her community is her everything. She makes food for seniors weekly, hosts Christmas lunches and gives children food all the time.

Seeing people happy and eating together warms her heart.

“My community is my priority. I love them so much and I really like working with them. Our community has a lot of challenges to deal with ... crime, gangsterism and poverty, but knowing that I can help others with a plate of food means a lot to me,” she says.

To earn money to buy the food she works as a supervisor at a scrapyard close to her home three days a week. She has six children and 14 grandchildren and is glad that all of them support her in her community work.

“I use most of the money that I make at the scrapyard to feed the community. For me, as long as I have sugar for my tea I’m okay, I don’t worry about food.”

Bam believes she is being given a second chance in life – that’s why she is dedicated to helping others. She was sexually abused in childhood and verbally abused as an adult. She even tried to commit suicide. Talking about the abuse helped her gain strength.

“Today I’m a survivor; I’m stronger than I have ever been. That’s why I also take time to help other abused people in my community. I counsel abused women and children. I can help them talk because I have walked that road. I encourage them to open up, because talking about it is the first step to healing,” she says.

Bam is in the process of registering her organisation, which will be a trauma counselling centre and a place of hope for the abused. She also wants to start an after-school care centre to keep children off the streets.

“In the meantime, I will just continue to help where I can with the money that I get from the scrapyard and my family. If there is anyone out there who can help with food, clothes it will add to what I make every day and we can change other people’s lives.”

V Those who want to donate or help Bam can call her on 060 505 2700.

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