Bringing Christmas cheer to the poor
Cedrick Wint has been an amputee for the past 15 years. However, he said that he will not allow his circumstances to prevent him from enjoying the festive season.
He was among hundreds of indigents who gathered at the Emmet Park in downtown Kingston, for the annual Christmas Treat, hosted by Food For The Poor, in partnership with Salvation Army.
The 73-year-old told The Gleaner that he was a shrimp vendor for most of his life, however, since a shooting incident in 2000, in which his leg was shattered, he has been unemployed.
"I was doing my usual hustle and a shoot-out started with the police and some young men. It just happened that I was at the wrong place at the wrong time. There was blood all over. By the time I got to the hospital the foot was already gone," he recalled.
The man who hails from the Hannah Town community in downtown Kingston, however, said he would not be daunted and was hoping for the best during the Christmas season and beyond.
"I have to keep fighting, I am looking forward to the Christmas because I have given everything to God. God has provided people from Salvation Army and Food for The Poor to assist us and I am grateful," Wint said.
"It's hackling but mi haffi gwan live. The father seh you must leave all judgement to him so I won't harbour any unforgiveness. I am giving God thanks for what he provided today," he said.
Similarly, for Eulalee McDonald, though life has been a struggle for her, noted that she was determined to push through.
"Since my husband died it has been me alone so it's a rough time. About 10 years ago someone ran over my foot with a bicycle but I didn't take it seriously and, over time, it get worse and it is bothering me now," she said.
"I have to go to clinic three times a week but di medication is the hardest part. Can't afford it all the time but mi a pull through. I am really thankful for the Christmas treat," he said.
David Mair, Executive Director at Food For the Poor, said giving back was never a ritual.
He explained that the indigents were treated with fish, chicken, rice and peas along with gifts to take home.
"The team was here from yesterday evening (Wednesday) cooking and didn't leave till 2 o'clock this morning (Thursday) but it's not a bother because the need is great," he declared.
"This is one of the days that we look forward to the most. We are feeding thousands of elderly underprivileged persons and afterwards, we give them gifts. I am actually not feeling well but I had to be here," Mair told The Gleaner.
Territorial Leader at the Salvation Army, Eva Marseille, also explained that giving back was a command given from God and as such, the team was propelled to go beyond the call of duty.
"This is part of who we are. There's no better place to be than assisting the poor and this is what Jesus is all about," she declared.