Giving to others like it's going out of style
Published: Wednesday | March 11, 2009
Latoya Grindley (left), features writer at The Gleaner, presents Edna Panton with a donation made by readers in January. Readers can join with Silton Townsend, better known as Maas Gussie, in making a difference. - File
Welcome to the second instalment in the series Hello Mi Neighbour. Television personality Silton Townsend, famous for his role as Maas Gussie in Lime Tree Lane, calls Jamaicans to action in helping the poor and dispossessed.
Hi, Mi neighbours! What a week last week was! Sometimes the things we hear happening 'round us make us feel weak. But we have to be strong and fight back, knowing that good must overcome evil.
We're not fighting back with guns, knives, sticks and stones, or bad-mindedness and covetousness. We're fighting back with heartfelt love, with prayer! We're fighting back with hard work! We're sowing the seeds of good deeds.
A few days ago, a young lady from St Elizabeth called me in tears to explain her plight because she heard that Gussie was in the habit of helping people. No problem. She said that her house was burnt down, leaving her unemployed husband, her two small children and her without a roof, wall, window or door. No shelter, no clothes, no food, no money.
Fortunately for the distressed family, however, a neighbour came to their rescue by granting them a space in a fowl coop. Foul! To make matters worse, the two-year-old child was sick.
And what could I do to help somebody all the way in St Elizabeth? After saying a little prayer, an idea popped into my head: "Call Sister Brown and call Sister Vassell from St Elizabeth - yuh know them."
Minutes after calling them and explaining the young woman's plight, the neighbourliness machinery was in full flight! They called somebody else and that person called somebody else and before yuh seh, "Who dat?" there was a buzz of activity.
Neighbours grabbed food, clothes, money, and other necessities as they descended on the family to turn their sorrow into joy!
When I spoke with the young lady a day or two later, the tears had evaporated. So we must say many thanks to Mr and Mrs Brown, Fiona, Keith, Alvin, Bromley, Dorrett and others who are still trying to see how they can help this family to rebuild their lives.
While I am at it, let me also say thanks to:
Ms Grant, for offering a three-seater living room chair to her neighbour from St Catherine who lost all her furniture to thieves.
Mrs Stennett, of St Catherine, for donating a four-burner gas stove to a St Catherine neighbour who was badly in need of one.
Barbara, of St Andrew, for donating a walker to an elderly neighbour.
Kay, of St Catherine, for giving a playpen to Nadine from St Catherine.
Kad, St Elizabeth, who is connecting with Miss Gordon from Westmoreland, who is due to have her baby in April and is in need of clothing.
Donna, of St Ann, for offering an oven to a neighbour so that she can do a little baking for a living.
We're not a mean people as some might think. And it's catching. Take my advice! Practise helping others! You never know when you might 'buck yuh toe' and need a helping hand.
Did I tell you about Miss Mack, an elderly lady from St Andrew? She heard about a lady from St Catherine who needed a bed for her children and decided to help her out. When the St Catherine lady came to pick up the bed, she discovered that Ms Mac had a serious problem and was in need herself. That encounter bore fruit for both.
If you have a skill such as carpentry or masonry, join in the fun of sharing with your neighbours. If you have extra household articles, accommodation, money, clothing, books etc, I invite you to share as well.
Don't misunderstand me. I'm not encouraging begging or laziness; just trying to ease the pain of many less fortunate neighbours, some of whom have nothing to eat or sleep on, or nowhere to stay.
Can you help these neighbours?
To help, please call 906-3167 or 884-3866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make the link-up.
Give and you will experience the joy that giving gives!
1 A neighbour from St Catherine is asking for a second-hand crib.
2 Cynthia, of St James, got burnt out in October 2007. Still trying to recover from the loss. She's asking for assistance with household items.
3 Ms D, of Trelawny: Husband died, leaving her with four children. Living in a house which is unstable and could collapse at any moment.
4 Mavis, of St Catherine, is 82 years old and needs help to restore house, which is in disrepair.
5 Blind neighbour from Portland appealing for help to acquire a water tank. Has to travel about a quarter of a mile at times along rugged terrain to fetch water. Most times he is alone.
6 Asking neighbours for a fan. Has two children who cannot cope with the heat. No money to purchase a simple fan.
7 Ms Cole, of St Andrew: Her house is in a precarious position, waiting for disaster to happen.
8 Angela, of St Catherine, is caring for an elderly, bed-ridden neighbour who needs attention around-the-clock. Asking for help with the construction of bathroom.