A season of giving - Police, organisations and individuals share the Christmas spirit
Can we forget about COVID-19 for a while and just open our hearts and celebrate the season for giving, by giving? Well, that was the sentiment of several persons and institutions in St Ann during the period leading up to Christmas, with many continuing to give.
Among those who The Gleaner was able to capture was New York-based Claudia Paisley, who, along with her husband, Dogal , and their children, and assistance from the Community Safety and Security (CSS) branch of the St Ann police, ensured that scores of persons were able to smile during the festive season.
After migrating some 30 years now, Paisley said she paid a visit to St Ann some years ago and was touched by some of the scenes she saw of persons being in need of help.
Later, she decided that she would embark on a mission to help others and set about seeking to raise funds to do so.
Starting with her own money and help from her husband and other family members, this year marked a grand occasion as she was able to help several persons in the St Ann’s Bay and Priory areas of the parish.
The donation included 300 toys, 150 care packages, 16 tablets, and a cook-out that fed 300 people.
Those benefiting included persons from St Ann’s Bay, Windsor, Charles Town (Marley), Priory, the St Ann’s Bay Infirmary, and the pediatric ward at the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital.
‘I AM BLESSED’
Stressing that COVID-19 protocols were adhered to, Paisley told The Gleaner, “I am blessed, I am truly blessed, so giving is something that I want to do.”
She added: “Moving forward, this is something I want to do on a yearly basis, or twice a year. My future plan is to launch a foundation so I would be able to reach more people who need help.”
But it didn’t end there. Showing her appreciation to the police for their assistance, she presented several gift packages to the two-member team from the CSS, Cpl. Leteacher Ennis and Cons. Teran Spence.
Unselfishly, the two officers then turned around and presented the gift packages to several lucky motorists. Drivers who were stopped and checked by the two, and who had all their documents up-to-date, were quite surprised when they got a gift from the cops!
Not to be outdone, police officers from the Bamboo station put on a Christmas treat for residents who had assisted in putting out a fire at the station on November 15. In responding quickly to the blaze, the citizens prevented the fire from spreading beyond the barracks area, which would have caused more damage.
“We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives,” Ennis commented.
Elsewhere, Pastor Alberta Boswell-James, founder of the Restoration of Life Mission in Christ Apostolic Church in St Ann’s Bay, and who has been giving back to the community for decades, maintained the tradition with a treat at the Bethel Basic School in Windsor Heights.
“Because of social distancing we didn’t do a whole lot with a big crowd, but all the kids got their Christmas gifts,” Boswell-James shared.
TABLETS FOR STUDENTS
Three students – one each from Brown’s Town Primary, Servite Primary, and York Castle High schools – were among the first set to receive tablets as Christmas gifts from Moulton Surveillance and Service’s CEO, Everol Moulton, shortly before Christmas.
Moulton told The Gleaner that more tablets would be distributed to students leading up to the new school term in January and that his company is assisting a cable company in the Brown’s Town area to provide Internet access to the residents of the Retreat community.
“I am in dialogue with a cable provider to get fiber optic cable to enable Internet access to residents in the community of Retreat,” Moulton said.
“Every household will have access to Internet so the kids will be able to do their schoolwork. We don’t want anyone to be left behind when it comes to education, so it’s in my best interest to assist my community in the best way I can.”
Moulton had previously assisted several schools in St Ann and St Mary with surveillance systems to boost security at those institutions.
DEDICATION, HARD WORK
Elizabeth White, a pilates instructor operating in Jamaica and the United Kingdom, treated residents at the St Ann Infirmary to gifts that her clients had donated. Staff members were also presented with Christmas treats for “their dedication and hard work”.
“My clients kindly donated money towards toiletries for the residents and some treats, cakes, biscuits, and fruits for the staff. Today, I thanked the staff for their hard work and dedication,” she said.
Camille Ade John, Community Development Committee (CDC) president, was also on hand to present some drinks to the staff.
And a little decoration to the surrounding can do so much to help lift one’s spirit, especially during the festive season. That was the intention as Vana Taylor, Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association (JHTA) Area Chair and St Ann Chamber of Commerce president, led her team to the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital on Wednesday.
“We also made a cash donation,” Taylor noted.
While all this was taking place, several other persons and organisations were also contributing to the society in their own way.