Thu | Jan 24, 2019

Mary Gate of Heaven fetes Whitehall, Red Ground communities

Published:Saturday | January 3, 2015 | 12:00 AM
Six-year-old Isaiah Turnbull (right) and his friend Jaheim Westney were happy to pose with volunteer Santa Claus (Kevin McGroarty) of Toronto, during the St Anthonys Kitchens pre-Christmas Treat in Negril, last week.
Members of the Rotary Club of Negril with fellow Rotarians from Canada during the St. Anthonys Kitchens pre-Christmas Treat in Negril last week.

Claudia Gardner, Assignment Coordinator


Scores of adults and children from the Red Ground and Whitehall communities in Negril were feted at the Mary Gate of Heaven Roman Catholic Churchs Christmas dinner and treat in Negril recently.

The event was held at the church's St. Anthonys Kitchen facility, located at Non Pariel Road in the resort town, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Negril. All children in attendance received Christmas bags with toys and school supplies from Canadian volunteer Kevin McGroarty, who took on the role of Santa Claus for the day, while adults from each household were given grocery bags containing chicken, rice and other items provided by the Rotary Club of Negril.

Fourth consecutive year

Father Jim Bok, priest of the Mary Gate of Heaven Roman Catholic Church, told Western Focus that the event was being held for the fourth consecutive year, and was an extension of the kitchens daily lunch programme, which feeds more than 100 people each day, who are considered less fortunate.

"Most days, we serve lunch to about 110 to 120 people. This happens because there are many friends and benefactors, some here in Negril, but honestly, most of them are in the United States and Canada and they continue to support our outreach work out of the church," he said.

Joan Williams of Whitehall, a mother of seven and grandmother of two, who was in attendance at the event, told Western Focus that she was a happy recipient of the benevolence of the programme.

Happy for the church

"I am so happy for the church. I used to have problems sending my kids to school but now I have it easier and better. I am so happy and hope God blesses the volunteers. I wish them a happy new year and I love them," Williams said.

Keva Davis, of the neighbouring Red Ground community, said many of Negril's less fortunate and homeless have been beneficiaries of the programme and for this she is very grateful.

"The children look forward to the treat every year because they will get necessary things to go back to school. So it is good for every one of the children in the community. I appreciate what they are doing so much that I cant tell them as many thanks as I would like to tell them, but I always say God must bless them and keep it going on, because it has helped many Negril people who are less fortunate," she said.