Tue | Jul 23, 2019

Cumberland volunteers feed the elderly

Published:Wednesday | February 27, 2019 | 12:06 AM
Carol Johnson, volunteer at the Cumberland Tri-Sector Citizens’ Association, gets up before sunrise every Tuesday and Thursday to prepare breakfast for the elderly and less fortunate in the community. For more than 10 years, the feeding programme has served vulnerable residents in the community.
Renair Benjamin, councillor for the Westchester division of the Portmore Municipal Council, receives a warm embrace from Faith Samuels, secretary of the Cumberland Senior Citizens’ Club. Contributed photos
President of the Cumberland Tri-Sector Citizens’ Association (CTCA), Dalton Scott, delivers breakfast to resident Dorothy West-Brown, as part of his Thursday morning breakfast delivery routine. West-Brown is among the 25 senior citizens to benefit from the CTCA’s breakfast-feeding programme.
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The spirit of volunteerism is thriving in the Portmore community of Cumberland where a group of residents has taken on the cause of the less fortunate. Through their feeding programme, the Cumberland Tri-Sector Citizen’s Association (CTCA) is catering to senior citizens and the needy in the community.

The CTCA is driven by the mutually vested interest of approximately 200 residents with a passion for driving community development through acts of service. Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, members give up three hours of their day to prepare warm meals for senior citizens in need.

Renair Benjamin, councillor for the Westchester division of the Portmore Municipal Council, lauded the group for its work. “The CTCA is playing a key role in impacting the community by directly connecting with residents who need assistance. I try to come out and support the feeding programme by purchasing the 100-pound gas cylinder and some of the ingredients for the meals. The programme has been a positive moving force and has the potential to do much more,”Benjamin said.

Through its ‘100 for a Century’ campaign, the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation recently made a donation to the CTCA as part of the company’s centennial celebrations. The foundation partnered with The Gleaner to reach out to communities across the island and select worthy community projects for support. Cumberland became one of 56 recipients of a cash donation of $100,000 each.

CTCA President Dalton Scott says the organisation’s contribution will be used to purchase disposable containers, gas cylinders and ingredients, as well as to offset transportation costs.

“We are passionate about caring for the more vulnerable residents, so we are always seeking better ways to serve them. This gift from the D&G (Desnoes & Geddes) Foundation will provide us with a reliable resource we can use to support the feeding programme. Our priority is to provide persons with nutritious meals, and this donation will be of great help,” Scott said.

Limited mobility

Sixty-year-old resident Dorothy West-Brown is among the beneficiaries of the initiative. Living with limited mobility has affected her daily routine, including her ability to prepare her own meals. She’s looking forward to receiving more meals that are personalised to her liking.

“I am very thankful for my husband because he is so caring and is very willing to cook for me, but sometimes I know he is tired so I would like him to rest. So, I am very grateful for the feeding programme,” West-Brown said.

“Knowing that we will get breakfast a few days out of the week really takes some pressure off me and my husband to cook. The members of the programme have my best interest at heart because they know me by name and prepare what I like and how I like it. I honestly feel loved and cared for,” West-Brown added.

Established in 2009, the feeding programme was founded in the homes of Senior Citizens’ Club president, Primrose Scott, and the current CTCA president, to cater to the growing number of residents in need. With support from the community, over time they expanded their capabilities and moved the initiative to the Cumberland Community Centre where they are fully operational.

“We are happy to support this initiative as they realise their goal of community upliftment. The D&G Foundation believes in enriching communities and fostering growth so we look forward to the expansion of the feeding programme so they can touch the lives of many more members of the community,” said Desnoes & Geddes Foundation board member Dianne Ashton-Smith.