Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
OCHO RIOS, St Ann:
LAST YEAR, Jewel Dunn's River Beach Resort and Spa in forging closer links with the St Ann Infirmary and 2013 will see a continuation, according to Human Resources Manager Erica Bent.
Two visits to the infirmary, one in August and one in December, saw hotel staff members sharing gifts and their time with the infirmed.
"When we went in August, we fed them, washed and shampooed their hair, shaved the men and cut their hair, massaged them and played music and really entertained them that day and they thoroughly enjoyed it," said Bent.
A gardener from the hotel also cut the yard and the men were invited to play dominoes. The hotel also presented two television sets and a shampoo basin.
The second visit was different. It was Christmas and a buffet line with chicken, ham rice and peas along with other foods was what the residents were treated to. They were given care packages, which contained soap, tissue, toothpaste and toothbrush. In addition, the 28 team members, representing all departments from the hotel, sang Christmas carols while a team member, who is a pastor, kept church.
Vinessa Uter, human resource administrator at the hotel, was among those who went on the trips to the infirmary.
"It was good," she said of the experience. "They always look forward to us coming and always tell us to come back. They were excited when we got there, they were sitting and waiting for us and it felt good."
Outside of the special occasion, the hotel also sends soup meat from its butcher shop to the infirmary on a regular basis.
General manager at the hotel, Carol Bourke was an integral part of the visits, with hands-on involvement, from shampooing hair to sharing meals.
Matron Charmaine Davidson and Dallas Dickenson, councillor for the St Ann's Bay division, who has responsibility for the infirmary, both expressed appreciation for the help the hotel has been offering.
"There will be more of the same this year," Bent committed. "This year, we're looking forward to doing something bigger and better because they are like family to us now. Personally, I look forward to going."
"And the staff here feels the same," Uter added.