Lee-Joan honours her mom with 21st birthday outreach

Lee-Joan Presence handing out meals to the needy in Chester Road, Zonnebloem.

A Woodstock woman decided to celebrate her 21st birthday on Saturday by serving the needy instead of having a big bash.

Lee-Joan Presence, a business-management student at the College of Cape Town, says she wanted to honour her late mother’s legacy.

Her mother, Evette Presence, died nearly six months ago from Covid-19 complications. She was 51.

Lee-Joan says at the beginning of last year she had discussed plans with her mother to do something meaningful for her 21st.

Lee-Joan says her mom was active in the community and raised money to cover school fees and uniforms for needy children, and she supported the St Vincent de Paul Society’s feeding schemes, food drives and Christmas lunches for underprivileged children.

After deciding to celebrate her 21st by helping the needy, Lee-Joan saved up money for her outreach project. Her brothers, Jason and Rayton, also supported her, and together they delivered more 700 tubs of chicken akhni to the most vulnerable in Woodstock, Salt River, Zonnebloem and the City Bowl.

“It was a nice feeling doing this because my brothers and I always used to help my mother when she was helping the community,” she says.

“I always had a soft spot for helping people. I felt like I never had an opportunity to give back to the community. Everyone is having a massive bash for their 21st, so I decided to have a massive bash for the needy.”

On Sunday, she had a small supper with her family to celebrate her birthday.

“I am planning on helping the needy more in the future to keep my mum’s legacy alive,” says Lee-Joan.

Lee-Joan Presence with her late mother, Evette Presence.