Sat | Jun 6, 2020

Jamaican helping to feed thousands in New York

Published:Saturday | May 23, 2020 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell/Gleaner Writer
Packages to be delivered.
Thorpe
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CHIEF EXECUTIVE Officer (CEO) of 963Img Radio and member of the Evangel Church in New York, Patrick Thorpe, has been very busy in recent times as he organises thousands of food packages for those hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thorpe, who hails from Trelawny in Jamaica, says it is a great honour for him to reach out to Jamaicans and any other group that requests assistance during this difficult period in New York.

The philanthropist, through his 963Img Radio, partnered with the outreach arm of his church to provide groceries to seniors in quarantine and those who can’t afford to buy food.

The programme received overwhelming support from sponsors such as Amazon, NYC Food Bank, City Harvest and Samaritans Purse, among others.

Thorpe, who coordinated the flow of food packages to the needy, as well as liaising with volunteers for distribution, had his hands full.

“I can’t tell you how it makes me feel to see the impact the programme has been having, the grateful tears, the genuine and heartfelt thanks,” said Thorpe, almost getting emotional himself, as he commented on the responses they received from thankful recipients.

Growing rapidly

With the outreach growing rapidly, Thorpe has had to bring in more volunteers to assist in unloading and packaging. “It also helps that various churches have been able to come out and receive groceries for their congregations. The number of families being serviced and provided for has been astounding. Unofficially at this time, we have served an approximate 95,000 families,” he told The Gleaner.

This is not the first time that Thorpe has been involved in outreach through his church. In 2016, he was involved in voluntary exercises through various groups such as Our Community Pantry, Homeless Outreach, Shelter Outreach, Prison Outreach, Park Outreach and Sports Outreach.

Although Thorpe is now involved in this major effort to help those who have lost their jobs, he is already looking ahead to post-COVID-19 where, he says, the outreach will continue.

Reflecting on his work as a volunteer, Thorpe said it started in Jamaica when he was a boy. He said that his grandmother instilled in him the value of serving others.

Thorpe left Jamaica in 1983 to live in the United States. He said because of his ‘serving spirit’ his friends called him ‘Saint Patrick’.

“If there is anything that I have learned being a Jamaican and raised by my grandmother, is that we should be not only hearers of the word but doers also, not deceiving our own soul. For as long as I live you will always find me sharing my own pot or helping others to share theirs,” he said.

A former director of the Peace and Love Academic Scholarship, Thorpe has also been instrumental in providing back-to-school books to many through a local organisation spearheaded by Paul Barkley.