Wed | Jun 19, 2019

Father Ramkissoon urges greater level of volunteerism

Published:Friday | December 28, 2018 | 12:00 AMMaurice Silvera/Gleaner Writer
Laurie Peters (second right), Canadian high commissioner to Jamaica, and Ambassador Malgorzata Wasilewska (right), head of the European Union Delegation to Jamaica, join volunteers to hand out meals at the Mustard Seed Communities' Feed The 5,000 Christmas Treat in inner-cities across Kingston on Christmas Day.

Expressing gratitude to the many individuals who supported this year's Feed the 5,000 Christmas treat in inner cities across Kingston, Mustard Seed Communities founder Monsignor Gregory Ramkissoon is also calling for a greater level of volunteerism from local organisations.

"As you see here in Kingston, 5,000 is a drop in the bucket. We cannot fulfil the need of the entire area, so if we get more people on board, we could expand to other areas and visit more people. So, instead of just my hand reaching out, we would like more hands to reach out," Ramkissoon said.

On Christmas Day, scores of volunteers took to the streets of Kingston in support of the annual event. The motorcade, complete with outriders from the Jamaica Constabulary Force, made stops in Allman Town, Gold Street, Fletcher's Land, and Trench Town, spreading the Christmas spirit to elderly residents and children with stuffed toys and warm meals.

The children queued up, eagerly awaiting gifts that were being distributed by representatives of various civic groups alongside members of the Jamaica Defence Force.

Lori Chuck, president of the Rotary Club of St Andrew North, expressed satisfaction at the residents' response to their efforts.

"It is the smiles, the joy, and the appreciation that we see from the children that makes it great to give back. It is Christmas morning; we could stay at home and fill our bellies, but instead we chose to come out here to ensure that somebody else has something to eat," she said.

Cecil Beharry, another Rotarian, cited memories of his upbringing as his reason for supporting the gesture of goodwill.

"I grew up in a little rural village. Seeing the joy and excitement of the little children brings back old memories of gifts being shared at Christmas. It makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing on Christmas Day, and it is a day well spent," he said.

In expressing his thanks to the many individuals who made the event possible, Ramkissoon stated that the gesture highlights what is good about Jamaica and that it far outweighs the negative forces present within the society.

maurice.silvera@gleanerjm.com