Fri | Jan 18, 2019

Regular heroes - Even children gave their mite to Walker's Place of Safety

Published:Thursday | February 1, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer
Youngsters of the Fire Wardens Club (from left) Christian Chatrie, Adrien Richards, Alejandra Robinson and Malachi Lindo assisted with the delivery of items to the Child Protection and Family Services Agency for children displaced at the Walker's Place of Safety that was recently destroyed by fire.

There was no handing over of mock cheques, let alone media, on hand for publicity.

However, the contributions made by many ordinary Jamaicans in the aftermath of the inferno that swallowed the Walker's Place of Safety is just as significant as the big bucks forked out by corporate Jamaica and wealthy citizens, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency (CPFSA) has asserted.

In fact, the CPFSA yesterday lauded the charitable spirit of ordinary Jamaicans, stating that they, above all, recognised the need first and acted with the little that they had.

"I remember there was this gentleman who came in and just gave the cashier an envelope with one thousand dollars. He didn't even leave his name. He just said that he wanted to assist the children of Walker's, and we appreciated it no less because every dollar adds up," recounted Rochelle Dixon, manager of public relations and communications at the CPFSA.

"What is striking for us as an agency is that in all the years we've seen unfortunate incidents with our children, this has been the most overwhelming response we've seen from the public," she added.

Dixon stated that other small donors gave contributions ranging from $3,000-$10,000 while educational institutions such as the Sunrise Early Childhood Development Centre and the American International School of Kingston also contributed a small sums of cash along with school supplies and non-perishable food items.

"Even persons who don't have any money call to say 'Condolences, send me the list of the names of the children, I need to pray for them'," shared Dixon.

Dixon reasoned that even children took notice of the plight of the children and told their parents who, in turn, informed the CPFSA of their children's willingness to contribute clothing and other possessions.

Seventeen days after the hellish blaze that claimed the lives of two female wards of the State and displaced 34 others, the CPFSA says that it has received monetary donations in the region of $5 million. The money will go towards building a state-of-the-art residential childcare facility, the cost of which is yet to be determined.