Sun | Oct 24, 2021

Ocho Rios Drop-in Centre hosts Christmas treat

Published:Tuesday | December 18, 2018 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
An elderly woman looks at the items in the gift bag she was presented with, at the Ocho Rios Drop-In Centre on Monday evening.
Chairman of the Poor Relief Department in the St Ann Municipal Corporation, Councillor Dallas Dickenson (right), hands out gift bags to a man who turned up at the Drop-In Centre Christmas treat on Monday evening.
Councillor Ian Bell (foreground) hands out a gift bag to a lady at the Ocho Rios Drop-In Centre, while Councillor Sidney Stewart (background) does the same to another lady, as Councillor Dallas Dickenson looks on at right.

The Ocho Rios Drop-In Centre, which opened in May and has been instrumental in assisting several homeless persons with meals and shower facilities, held its first Christmas treat on Monday evening in the resort town.

Dozens of persons, mostly those who have been using the facility since it opened, turned out for the occasion and were presented with gift packages containing care items, and also enjoyed meals of chicken, curried goat, fish, vegetables and sorrel.

A Christmas tree was lit in the centre, adding to the feel of the festive season.

One of the beneficiaries, an unemployed man who gave his name as Mark, was delighted with the treat as it meant Christmas wouldn't be all that bad, after all.

"It's definitely been a blessing to each and every one of us," Mark said. "Right now, I am unemployed, things really not so fortunate with me but at least I can get a meal here."

Councillor for the St Ann's Bay division, Dallas Dickenson, who is chairman of the Poor Relief Committee and the Homeless Committee, was happy for the occasion to help those in need during the Christmas season.

"This is our first annual Christmas treat for the Drop-In Centre. We are very happy we can come here this evening to share with them and fellowship with them, not just to turn on the tree, but to eat and to drink, to let them know we care for them and we will continue in the future to be part of them," Dickenson told The Gleaner.

He thanked the St Ann Municipal Corporation, the Board of Supervision and the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development for making the occasion a possibility.

Meanwhile, acting poor relief officer, Ferron Hayden Coburn, hailed the input of Teleperformance Outreach, the charity arm of the Montego Bay-based call centre, Teleperformance.

The company donated several personal items for distribution through the Drop-In Centre, with representatives journeying from Montego Bay to Ocho Rios to make the presentation.

The children and staff at Kinder Kollege Childcare Centre in Ocho Rios also donated items to be distributed to persons seeking assistance at the Drop-In Centre, during the season.

Councillor Ian Bell, who chaired the programme, also hailed the input of several staff members at the St Ann Municipal Corporation, and councillors and administrators at the centre for their input.