Disabled kids treated in back-to-school drive
Odane Reid, president and founder of the ICare Jamaica Foundation, is proud that his charity was able to host its annual back-to-school drive despite the coronavirus pandemic. And for the first time, children from the disabled community were specifically targeted for assistance.
Last month, the Montego Bay-based non-profit organisation distributed 200 packages to children from John Rollins Primary and Barrett Town All-Age schools, as well as another 50 to the disabled.
Reid, who committed to maintaining support for the Cornwall Combined Disabilities Association Benevolent Society, credited an interview on ‘Disability Beyond Borders’, a programme carried on local radio station More FM, for sparking the interest.
“After I pitched it to my team, they said yes in a heartbeat. They (the disabled) have needs, too, and I am really, really happy to be assisting them,” the ICare founder said.
Reid, who lives in the Rose Hall area, said that his group has, for the last four years, been working with less-fortunate children who depend heavily on the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), a state-run welfare plan.
ICare Jamaica had initially decided not to host its care package distribution, but reconsidered that position when it recognised the socio-economic fallout triggered by COVID-19. Besides killing more than 30 Jamaicans, the disease has triggered a raft of restrictions, wiping out income streams and haemorrhaging jobs.
Reid said that the organisation collaborated with key stakeholders to make learning a reality.
“I live in the area and I know the struggle faced by a lot of the students and parents. We work with the schools in getting a list of the PATH students and then we use it to determine the persons that would benefit,” he added.
As ICare Jamaica evolved, the organisation became more targeted in its outreach efforts, promoting back-to-school drives and family fun days. ICare also adopted the Garlands Hall Children’s Home. The family fun day wasn’t staged this year because of COVID-19 concerns.
“Normally, we would have gone to their location to cook for them, and the team (would) spend the whole day with them,” Reid said.
“Last year, we took them out into our space, where we had them interacting with our (children related to team members) sons, daughters, nieces, nephews, and so on.”
Visually impaired Robert Blake, vice-president of the Cornwall Combined Disabilities Association Benevolent Society, said he was grateful for the support and assistance.
“We applaud the team and the sponsors. We salute them as we look forward to the future in us working together in serving people in the disabled community,” Blake said.