Keisha Hill, Gleaner Writer
The fury unleashed by Hurricane Sandy has left many Jamaicans in need of assistance, especially on the eastern end of the island. But only a few corporate companies, including the Wisynco Group Limited, a leading Jamaican distributor and manufacturer of top brands of food, beverages and paper products, have so far lent a helping hand to assist many of these displaced persons.
According to William Mahfood, managing director of Wisynco Group Limited, through the auspices of the Jamaica Red Cross and Food For The Poor, his company has donated products including water for distribution to communities that have been severely affected.
"These entities already have the existing infrastructure to distribute these products, especially water. Water is critical at this point and we want to ensure that it gets to the right people, those who need it," Mahfood said.
He said giving back has always been part of Wisynco's corporate responsibility and the company has been assisting with hurricane relief activities since the onslaught of Hurricane Ivan in 2004. That tempest caused severe damage, leaving 18,000 people homeless and an estimated 17 people dead.
Meanwhile, Pepsi Jamaica contributed 300 cases of Aqua Essential water to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management.
Usually when there is a storm, the company contributes this vital resource to residents of needy communities.
GraceKennedy Group, another corporate giant, will also be making contributions to the hurricane-relief effort. According to Corporate Communications Manager Simone Clarke-Cooper, the company will be donating Grace products particularly to those affected in the eastern end of the island through either the Red Cross or The Salvation Army.
And, on Sunday, Digicel donated care packages to thousands of victims of the hurricane.
LIME has given its customers free talktime to connect with loved ones affected by Hurricane Sandy in the United States. The company's postpaid residential landline customers yesterday received '15-family minutes' free from noon to midnight.
Meanwhile, most of the other leading businesses when contacted said that with the relatively dormant state of the economy and sliding value of the dollar, they were not be able to contribute at this time. They said they would instead be focusing their energies on the upcoming Christmas season.