St Mary police fete infirmary residents
PORT MARIA, St Mary:
Police in St Mary raised over $100,000 and provided meals for some of the parish's most vulnerable people, thanks to a pioneering double-headed culinary initiative launched last month.
In an effort to raise funds to deliver anti-violence projects across the parish, the local police's Community Safety and Security Branch (CSSB) recently hosted 'Seafood Friday,' a food-focused event in Port Maria, which attracted support from Rainforest Seafoods, the Caribbean's largest supplier of quality fish.
However, in an effort to include a charitable element to the fundraiser, the cops also delivered more than 90 meals to residents at the local infirmary and a children's home nearby.
Speaking last week, the sub-officer in charge of CSSB, Rochell McGibbon, told Rural Xpress: "The CSSB deals with outreach activities, but there isn't necessarily funding available for all of the projects that we undertake, so we try to get sponsors. But because there aren't many around right now, we took it upon ourselves to host an event called 'Seafood Friday,' which was endorsed by Rainforest Seafoods, who offered to provide all the meals at a minimal cost.
"Even though the objective was to raise funds for our events, we decided there should be a charity aspect, so we contacted the managers of the local infirmary and Pringles Place of Safety in Carron Hall. They came on board and we were able to provide 30 lunches for staff and children at Pringles, and more than 60 meals to the infirmary. They were very receptive, appreciative and grateful. I know the residents really enjoyed their steamed and escoveitched fish, bammy and festival meals."
Looking ahead, McGibbon plans to use all the cash accumulated from the fundraiser to subsidise several mainly youth-focused initiatives over the next seven months.
She explained: "Most of the projects we have planned are youth-driven. We're hoping to host a relay competition, similar to the annual Gibson McCook Relays, but it would involve all the learning institutions that participate in our 'Safe Schools' programme. That's scheduled to take place next year in the leadup to the Gibson event, and we will also be hosting workshops and employment programmes through the police youth club unit, which is geared towards development throughout the various communities."
McGibbon added: "Domestic violence is very serious and is on the increase here in St Mary, so we have a lot of dispute-related reports coming into the parish. As a result of that, part of what we do is to move into the communities, whether through advocacy, community walks or other initiatives. But these things take time and money, so we are looking forward to allotting the profits we made from the fundraiser to support these projects."