Sun | Oct 25, 2020

Salvation Army continues to spread cheer and goodwill - Charitable organisation hopes to get back on schedule with food distribution programme for the poor

Published:Monday | July 6, 2020 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Major Vilo Exantus of the Salvation Army hands over a care package to Elaine Dixon at the William Chamberlain Centre on Lyndhurst Road on Wednesday, July 1.
Major Vilo Exantus of the Salvation Army hands over a care package to Esther Jones at the William Chamberlain Centre on Lyndhurst Road.
Salvation Army Auxiliary Captain Roger Linton hands over a care package to Nadine Haughton.

The Salvation Army is slowly getting back on schedule to distribute food packages to the needy. The distribution schedule was disrupted by the curfews and other social- distancing measures initiated by the Government to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Elaine Dixon was among a group of over 100 persons last Wednesday who collected COVID-19 relief packages distributed by the Salvation Army. The 65-year-old said it was not the most ideal circumstance but, unfortunately, hard life had taken a toll on her.

Dixon said that she was thankful to God and the Salvation Army, specifically the team from the William Chamberlain Rehabilitation Centre on Lyndhurst Road in Kingston, for extending the much-needed assistance in this time of pandemic.

According to Dixon, who is a vendor at the Ray Ray Market in downtown Kingston, which was burnt flat last month, reportedly by criminals attempting to escape cops, she cannot fend for herself because her stalls and goods were destroyed in the fire, and on top of that, she is ill.

“Mi a go through a rough time because mi can’t get fi go work again. I am 65 and one morning I just wake up and can’t walk again more than so. Di foot sick. Mi sell dung a Ray Ray Market, but dem burn it down and mi nuh get nuh help all now fi build up back nothing. That a over three weeks now,” she said.

Dixon said if it were not for the Salvation Army’s assistance, she would be down and out, but she is determined to bounce back.

Symister Beryl, who lives off Waltham Park Road in St Andrew, was elated to be collecting her package of rice, flour and other items.

“I thank God for them because sometimes I don’t have it, but I trust God,” Beryl said.

Doreen Linton said she is “glad for it”.

“I give God thanks. It could be worse, but we still pushing through.”


For the most part, persons who came to collect packages were senior citizens, but according to Major Paulette Laing, assistant administrator at the William Chamberlain Rehabilitation Centre, even much younger citizens turned out.

She added that due to regulations put in place by the Government to contain the spread of COVID-19, the centre could not host food distribution initiatives as it used to, but since measures are being gradually relaxed, the team wanted to do something big.

“Due to COVID-19, a lot of people have been displaced. Students are at home longer, some persons have lost jobs and the demand for food becomes greater. We were accustomed to having our welfare programme every Wednesday but due to COVID-19 we couldn’t have the gatherings. We couldn’t have it every Wednesday, just now and again, but today, we are having something more structured.

“Between Friday and today, our target was over 500 persons to give packages to across Kingston and St Andrew and St Catherine. Today at the centre, we are giving away over 100. We do this to help alleviate the problems experienced due to COVID-19.”