Local Heroes 2022: Tubs Lingham helps feed East London's needy
Tubs Lingham, 34, from Gonubie, understands what it means to be destitute, alone and hungry.
“Sometimes, it’s eat or die,” he said.
But from a place of loss blossomed a true fire-starting hero, whose commitment to feeding underprivileged children placed him as one of the 2022 Daily Dispatch and Johnson & Johnson Local Hero winners.
“I was using drugs from the age of 10 and in 2018 was living on the streets for eight months with not a cent to my name. I was living in my car, which I pawned for R3,000 for drugs,” he said.
“A few years ago my mother passed away and my drug addiction really snowballed. My wife and daughter were taken away from me because of the addiction and I was left living in my car.
“During those months I saw there was such a huge crisis in East London of people who didn’t have food and were suffering, especially children.”
After a family intervention which led to him spending six months in a rehabilitation centre, Lingham made the decision to transform his life and opened Pot O’Curry in Beacon Bay as a fresh start.
“When I opened Pot O’Curry I had a passion for helping in different avenues. Now we support numerous NPOs with our feeding scheme and food donations.
“My mom was a big part of my life, she had such a passion for feeding people, and I have it too.”
With the prize earnings, I’m hoping to sow them back into other organisations and invest it in the various projects I’m busy with at the moment so they can become more self-sustaining.
A leading partnership is with non-profit organisation Helping Those in Need, run by husband and wife powerhouse Marion and Mathew Peake, who care for 28 abused and neglected children and feed more than 2,200 children a day from eight feeding schemes across the city.
Lingham said he was shocked to have been one of the 12 winners of the Local Hero awards and would be using the earnings to help the NPO flourish.
“I actually can’t believe I’m one of the winners! I always thought Local Heroes was for NPOs.
“With the prize earnings, I’m hoping to sow them back into other organisations and invest it in the various projects I’m busy with at the moment so they can become more self-sustaining.”
Lingham also helped raise R104,000 to keep the NPO open when he heard it was days away from closing in March by donating R50,000 through the business and challenging the community to match the amount — which they did in two weeks.
Now a board member of the NPO, Lingham’s latest initiative has brought together more than 20 local businesses to sponsor the living costs of a child in need.
“We want to create a relationship between businesses and the children they sponsor. This isn’t just about putting money into a bank account.
“Each business gets a letter from the child it sponsors about why he or she landed up in the care of Marion and Mathew.”
Lingham also led the charge in a weight loss challenge, “Fit for Logan”, which raised R44,000 for the medical needs of four-year-old Logan Bartle, who has cerebral palsy, in partnership with Go! & Express and the Canaan Centre in December 2021.
“What’s very important to me is that my family is with me. My wife, our daughter and I fed people in Pefferville in July.
“It was so beautiful to actually have my daughter dishing up food and serving it to people in need. She’s five years old and to teach her compassion at such a young age is what it’s all about.
“The toughest thing for me is not being able to feed everyone when people ask for help — we can’t always help everyone — to choose who needs the help the most.”
Tubs is a beacon of hope. He helps feed our 2,200 children and saved us when we faced shutting down and sending them to children’s homes.
Marion Peake of Helping Those in Need called Lingham a “true fire-starter in our community”.
“Tubs is a beacon of hope. He helps feed our 2,200 children and saved us when we faced shutting down and sending them to children’s homes,” Peake said.
“He is helping local — charity begins at home and he is an example of that.
“We try to use our resources for all the children we care for. Sometimes they don’t have textbooks or even underwear.
“These donations will go towards rent, water, electricity and petrol.
“Children are growing up angry, neglected and abused.
“We want to show love and compassion and give them a future. We want to raise up a nation.”
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