Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
More than 100 homeless persons spent last Friday at the Marie Atkins Night Shelter in Kingston in the company of the Nurses' Association of Jamaica (NAJ).
They were rubbing shoulders with the nurses, who, in the true spirit of the season, were staging their annual Christmas treat at the shelter.
"Every year during the Christmas season, the Nurses' Association of Jamaica has several outreach activities. This year, we are doing four basic schools and we also included the Marie Atkins Night Shelter," Shailee Neish, Lasco's Nurse of the Year for 2013-14, told The Gleaner.
"We visit Marie Atkins every year and basically sell the true concept of nursing. We want people to see the positive side of nursing as the NAJ shares and brings smiles to those who are less fortunate at this time of the year," she added.
Neish noted that the feedback from the indigent had been overwhelming over the years.
"This is more than we are able to manage because even now, we planned for 100 people, but we have far exceeded that number. It's fun, however, as long as we get the message of sharing out there.
"Nurses are caring and we share from the little that we have. We sell what Christmas should be, which is looking out for persons that are less fortunate," Neish added.
George Barber, a 75-year-old homeless man, stated how elated he was to have received a full plate of food.
"It was the first time I'm coming and it was good. The food was nice, the sorrel was nice, and I would definitely come again next year."
Elizabeth Dobson, caretaker for the shelter, also expressed her gratitude to the NAJ.
"I appreciate them so much for coming every year. This means so much to the homeless persons. When they hear about this, they always get so excited," Dobson said.