Sat | Sep 22, 2018

More than 300 homeless benefit from the Downer family treat

Published:Saturday | December 27, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Golda Downer (right) issues clothes to the dispossessed in downtown Kingston on Boxing Day as part of the Downer family's annual Boxing Day treat where they feed the homeless.-Ian Allen/Photographer

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

DESPITE HAVING to sacrifice their Christmas dinner, it was a joy for the Downer family to host their annual Christmas treat yesterday.

The treat which catered to more than 300 homeless persons across the Corporate Area, provided toiletries, food, and clothing to those who benefited.

Alice Downer, mother of the family, said it was a sacrifice but it was a joyous moment nonetheless.

"The family stayed up all night to prepare 75 pounds of rice, some chicken and dessert, but it was my absolute pleasure because I could have been one of them, but it is just the grace of God," she said with tears streaming down her face.

Noel Downer, father, said that the 28-year-old initiative started out very small but has grown on a yearly basis.

"It was during our family devotion years ago that this project was born. We actually started catering to 30 persons and now have more than tripled that number. All of my eight children are now grown and are still involved, so we are forever grateful to God for His strength all these years." he said.

Mr Downer said his family has postponed their Christmas dinner until Sunday because of the planning and work involved in carrying out the treat. "This is what makes the Christmas season fulfilling, and we look forward to doing this every year," he said.

Their daughter, Caren Morrison, said the project has made a positive impact on her life from childhood.

"We cannot be comfortable eating on Christmas Day knowing that persons are out there hungry and even though we have to delay our celebrations, it is no problem," she told The Gleaner.

"This comes from the heart and, despite the economic challenges, we remain confident and resolute in ensuring that this programme is carried out every year," she said.