Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Ebenezer Home given lifeline - Singer enriching the lives of the mentally challenged

Published:Wednesday | December 14, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Sharon Spence-Gibbs (left), general manager, Singer Jamaica Ltd, presents a cheque for $300,000 to Paulette Wheeler (centre), operations manager, and Joan Clarke, special projects officer, both of the Ebenezer Home for the Mentally Challenged and Homeless, during a handover ceremony for Singer’s ‘Enriching Lives Through Giving’ programme last Friday at the Terra Nova Hotel. The Ebenezer Home is one of 16 local charities that will benefit from a share of a $5-million donation from the initiative.
Sharon Spence-Gibbs (left), general manager, Singer Jamaica Ltd, along with Emille Bell (center), a student of Teen Challenge Jamaica and Anthony Richards, executive director, Teen Challenge Jamaica, during a handover ceremony last Friday at the Terra Nova Hotel. Teen Challenge is one of 16 recipients that will share in a donation of $5 million via the Singer ‘Enriching Lives Through Giving’ programme.

The Ebenezer Home for the Mentally Challenged and Homeless received a major boost last Friday as Singer Jamaica Ltd presented them with a cheque for $300,000 towards their operations and programmes.

The donation is part of Singer's 'Enriching Lives Through Giving' programme, which has given $5 million to 16 local charities, including the Mandeville-based Ebenezer Home, which, according to Operations Manager Paulette Wheeler, would have been forced to close their doors in March of 2017 due to lack of funding.

"We generally do not get much support from corporate Jamaica, but the past year in particular has not been good in terms of the aid we receive, so we would have been looking to close next March (2017)," explained Wheeler at the handover, which took place at the Terra Nova Hotel in St Andrew.

"The issues that we face are that we provide medication to the men who come in, and the costs of the medication along with maintaining a 24/7 staff, as mental health patients cannot be left unattended, has been a challenge. That, along with, utility and food bills, have exhausted the little resources of the home."

The Ebenezer Home provides a safe haven, shelter, food and clothing for homeless men across central Jamaica, Mandeville and May Pen, along with medication to help them stabilise their various mental conditions. The home has sought to boost their resources through a farming programme, which generates some income as well as provides food and gives the men of the home jobs and recreation, which aids in their condition.

General manager for Singer Jamaica Ltd, Sharon Spence-Gibbs, noted that Singer is aware of the daily struggles charities, such as the Ebenezer Home, experience to finance their operations and the role of corporate companies to assist in this area as part of good corporate social responsibility.

"For 2016, we are assisting charities which offer care and give support to our citizens. We commend you all for your dedication, passion and commitment in caring for the most vulnerable members of our society, and today we want to showcase our own dedication. We are proud to be able to make this contribution to assist your operations in some way, and we implore others to step forward and assist in any way they can, be it monetary or volunteering their time to a more than worthy cause," said Spence-Gibbs.

Other recipients in Singer's 'Enriching Lives Through Giving' initiative are: The Golden Age Home; Missionaries of the Poor; Danny Williams School for the Deaf; Pringle Home for Children; SOS Children's Village; Widow's Mate; West Haven; Homestead Place of Safety; Strathmore Gardens Place of Safety; Sunshine Child Care Facility; Teen Challenge Jamaica; St Augustine Place of Safety; Sunbeam Children's Home; Jamaica Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Islamic Centre Medical Outreach Programme.