Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer
With more than 200 persons turning out for a Christmas treat at the Tivoli Gardens Community Centre on Saturday, first-time member of parliament (MP) for West Kingston, Desmond McKenzie, has pointed out that the event was faced with many economic challenges.
"We are not doing as well as we have done in previous years because of the downturn in the economy and not that many persons are willing to give because they too are facing challenges," McKenzie lamented.
"In previous years, we could issue more than 2,000 packages, this time we could barely reach 1,000. We will have to change the way how because it's not humanly possible to keep doing things the same," McKenzie told The Gleaner.
The MP, in whose constituency Tivoli Gardens falls, however, emphasised that he was committed to making the Christmas season a good one for the residents.
"I am still committed, however, to continuing the tradition and doing the best for my constituents. We did our best and I made every effort in ensuring that everybody got a package," he said.
Eloine Beswick, a member of the community, said she was grateful.
"I'm just giving God thanks because we don't have much but we are grateful that we could be able to be here and whatever we get, we are thankful," she said.
In the meantime, the Scotiabank Centre treat, held in central Kingston, was hailed as a good experience by many children who came out for the festivities.
The children enjoyed various games and activities, including merry-go-round, bounceabout and music.
Donna Maxwell, business manager at the Scotiabank Centre, said the aim was to bring communities together.
"Some of these children, we find that they are from areas that are at war, so we want to bring them together so that they can work and play together," she told The Gleaner.
Steve Distant, branch manager of Scotiabank Centre, noted that the bank was committed to helping children in the community.
"It's really a win-win situation because it's something that the community looks forward to and something that we enjoy as a group, so we are hoping that the kids will have a good time," he said.