Sun | Oct 25, 2020

A child with a golden heart - Eight-year-old raising $100,000 to help Maxfield Park Children’s Home keep safe from COVID-19

Published:Monday | July 13, 2020 | 12:09 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Mika Beckford is sandwiched by representatives from Maxfield Park Children’s Home, Racquel Lawson (left) and Sonya Morgan.
Mika Beckford is sandwiched by representatives from Maxfield Park Children’s Home, Racquel Lawson (left) and Sonya Morgan.

At eight years old, Immaculate Conception Preparatory School grade two student Mika Beckford has done what many corporate companies have still failed to do in this coronavirus environment – have a heart.

Having heard what the COVID-19 pandemic has done to people across the world and in Jamaica, including children, Mika thought that she too, like many others, wanted to do something.

Then in a move belying her tender age, Mika thought she would reverse the age-old trend of receiving gifts for her birthday, and instead, give to others to mark the occasion.

So for her eighth birthday, July 6, Mika handed over a 45-gallon drum of liquid hand soap and a 45-gallon drum of bleach to the Maxfield Park Children’s Home, located on Maxfield Avenue in Kingston.

The items were bought from funds raised by Mika, after she set a target to raise $100,000 to purchase them. So far she has raised $53,000, from which the initial purchase was made, and has since continued in her efforts to raise the balance to meet her target.

Her actions represent a fine example by her parents, Mr and Mrs Sheldon Beckford, on how to raise a child with a golden heart.

“It didn’t surprise me. Mika is a very unique child, she comes up with the most mature things, so I wasn’t shocked,” her dad explained.

Beckford said she asked him how to get rid of the COVID-19, as she wanted to help do so.

Fundraising idea

“I told her I couldn’t tell her how to get rid of it, but explained that there are things we could do to prevent it from spreading. Then she came up with the idea that she wanted to raise funds to buy soap and disinfectant for the children’s homes, and she set a target of $100,000. Then one morning we woke up to a video she posted in the family WhatsApp group saying exactly what she wanted to do. She was specific about who she wanted to help. I was very supportive of her efforts.”

The Gleaner caught up with Mika as she spent time in Ocho Rios recently, and asked her what inspired her to start the project.

“It just came to my mind because I don’t really like this COVID, and I want to stop it as soon as it comes,” Mika said. “I wanted the COVID situation to go, so I decided that maybe we could give some soap to the children so they wouldn’t get this COVID so they wouldn’t die, but live a happy life.”

“I heard that some people have got it in Jamaica and it’s spreading worldwide, and a lot of people in America are getting it,” she added.

Asked if she is confident of reaching her target of $100,000, Mika said, “I was hoping, and I do believe, I can raise $100,000.”

Like her dad, Mika’s mom is very supportive of her daughter’s goal.

“She is a very caring child,” her mom said.

“I always say, once you meet her you’re drawn to her, so it wasn’t really a surprise to me that she came up with this initiative, and I really thought that we should support her as much as possible.”

“I think you find that children who are given a lot may end up being selfish, they don’t think about the people who don’t have; and so when she came up with this idea, we were really, really very happy to help her and encourage her.”

BECKFORD