Former gangster turns back on crime to help community

Schultz’s NPO helps children to avoid making the same mistakes he made

Former gangster, Lanche Schultz has become a saving grace in his community.
DIFFERENCE MAKER: Former gangster, Lanche Schultz has become a saving grace in his community.

A 43-year-old man who turned his back on a life of crime has emerged as a beacon of hope and support within his community.

Lanche Schultz, a former convict from Parkside has dedicated himself to fostering positive change by bringing services to needy people in Buffalo Flats. 

His commitment extends beyond mere words, as he actively mentors both the old and the young, imparting valuable life lessons and guidance, while supplying them with much-needed resources. 

The former gangster, who used to sell and use drugs, walked away from crime 20 years ago. He now teaches young people about the dangers of drugs and substance abuse. 

His nonprofit organisation, Agape of Love was founded in 2021 and has been a home to hundreds of people.

From the hungry to those walking barefoot to school and those battling with substance abuse, Schultz has been described as a saving grace. 

The community developer understands crime so-so well that he does not want any youngsters to fall victim to it. 

He said growing up in a home where he had to take care of himself, he felt like he had no choice but to find ways of living which were risky. 

“Because I grew up in a broken home and abusive environment, in my 20s I became a gangster and went through everything.”

Schultz said that after he left his old ways he had realised the plight of his community and decided to lend a helping hand. 

“Because I was in a transition, where I found God, I changed my life around and started a takeaway business, and saw the need of my community.

“From there my organisation grew I started helping people. 

“We have joined resources with other organisations trying to find a way to move on with one another. We work with 107 organisations in East London,” he said.

His organisation organises sports tournaments, has soup kitchens and arranges for donations among many other things.

“We bring basic resources including food parcels,” he said.

“We have also been supplying families who have lost everything in disasters with building materials, providing clothing to the needy, supplying toiletries and taking care of people in old age homes and other things.” 

Schultz described helping as a calling. 

“My heart has always been for the community. I adopted an illegal dumping site and cleaned it to start a business that was very popular.

“When I started, I would see children walking in and you could see they were heavily affected by their circumstances at home and some were even into substance abuse.

“I grew so big that I had to start catering for those who needed food. 

“God has been so faithful that we were able to bring resources to our people who have been marginalised and excluded.”

He said working with children meant working with future leaders, an experience he did not take for granted.

Schultz was nominated by Shiree Crouch, a community member.

Crouch said: “I met Lanche a year ago and I was amazed to see how he helps his community. He always goes an extra mile to help and never complains,” she said.



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