Sun | Feb 18, 2018

Optimists host pre-Christmas treats in Westmoreland

Published:Thursday | December 21, 2017 | 12:00 AMPaul H. Williams
From left: Optimist Brian Baker, Elaine McKen, Rose Headley, Theresa Ellington, Sonia Johnson and Roy Rayon, along with Maureen Wong, Chenelle Antonio and Antoinette Wyatt-Wray, travelled from Kingston and St Andrew to host two pre-Christmas treats in Westmoreland on Saturday, December 16, 2017.
Optimist and entertainer Roy Rayon chats with some children after they had received bags of goodies at a pre-Christmas treat held at Kew Park School on Saturday, December 16, 2017.
A section of the people who turned out for a pre-Christmas treat at Kew Park School in Rat Trap district, Westmoreland on Saturday, December 16, 2017.
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On Saturday, December 16, Rural Xpress was present to see the joy on the faces of children, young adults and elderly people as they received gift packages at two pre-Christmas treats in Westmoreland, one at Kew Park School in Rat Trap district and the other in Scarlett Field.

The fun and excitement started at Kew Park in a big classroom packed with children and some parents. They arrived early and waited patiently for the party to start, and they were not disappointed, so it seemed.

After much fun and games inside the classroom, there were light refreshments. The glee crescendoed when they received bags of goodies and food items.

From Kew Park, the team of coordinators including Optimists Brian Baker, Elaine McKen, Rose Headley, Theresa Ellington, Sonia Johnson and Roy Rayon, along with Maureen Wong, Chenelle Antonio and Antoinette Wyatt-Wray travelled several miles to Amity/Scarlett Field.

Shortly after they arrived at Scarlett Field, nightfall came, but people, including tiny tots and the elderly, trekked over the dark, rugged path to the party.

There was devotions music, entertainment, refreshments, and the distribution of highly anticipated gift packages.Then it was time to trudge back through the darkness with happy faces.

The treats are a result of the outreach efforts of Optimist and multiple-Festival-Song-winner Roy Rayon, whose relatives are from the region. The treats coincide every year with the birthday of Rayon's mother, Daphne 'Miss Dor' Cox, who believes in giving back to her communities. The giving has been going on for 10 years, and there have also been treats in Hatfield and Lambs River.

"To see that there is a need and you are filling a void ... and once I can assist, and make some people in the community, not just children, feel happy, I am going to do my endeavour best," Rayon told Rural Xpress.

After coordinating the treats for a number of years, with the assistance of his relatives and friends, Rayon, five years ago, co-opted the Optimist Club of Harbour View, of which he is a member making the gesture bigger and better.

Master of ceremonies Antoinette Wyatt-Wray, who led the activities with her bubbly personality, commented: "Overall, the experience was a good one; it was a good time lyming with the children. For me, to be giving at a time when people normally expect something was really good, and I really appreciate that."

At Kew Park, over 250 gift packages, some containing toys, books and stationery, others food items, were distributed, while at Scarlette Field, the figure was approximately 130.