Thu | Sep 23, 2021

Siblings sacrifice holiday to aid needy students

Published:Monday | September 9, 2019 | 12:00 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
A section of the crowd that turned out for the treat.
Pastor James, flanked by Nickel and Maria Williams.

For 28 years now, Pastor Alberta Boswell James of the Restoration of Life Mission in Christ Apostolic Church in St Ann’s Bay has been serving children in the parish through back-to-school and Christmas treats, in addition to other charity work that benefit adults.

For this year’s back-to-school treat, held at the playfield in Windsor Heights, St Ann’s Bay, Pastor James got more help in getting the event organised than she would normally get.

In fact, referencing Isaiah 11:6, which speaks to “a little child shall lead them,” Pastor James had not one but two children, the brother and sister team of Nickel and Maria Williams, virtually working to make the treat a reality.

Pastor James explained that she was ill and unable to pack the hundreds of back-to-school items she had purchased in Orlando, Florida and it was left to the kids to do the physical work. Without the input of the children, the treat might not have taken place, because the books wouldn’t have reached Jamaica.

Maria, in an act that defied her tender age, shared her experience in a speech she wrote and read at the treat, showing just how wonderful her actions, and those of her brother, were.

“Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I would like to share my experience in Orlando, Florida with you,” Maria began.

Pleasing to God

“My brother and I made a tough decision that other little kids probably wouldn’t want to make and that is, to give up our holiday to go and help kids who really need books and bags, etc. But we chose to help them because we’re pleasing the kids, Aunty Mep (Pastor James) and most of all, God.”

“At this time Aunty Mep isn’t in the best of health. She was weak and tired and filled with pain. She had a sick arm that had been torn inside. She couldn’t even move, but she got up and went to buy the books and other school supplies for the kids.

“I am used to helping her when she is not well by massaging her arm and making her some tea, and she used to call me her nurse.

“We managed to pack 2,500 books, but not without the help of my brother, Nickel. I do not regret my decision to go and help kids who really need to go to school and really need school supplies.”

Over 300 children from kindergarten to primary-school level were presented with packages of books, pencils, crayons and other school supplies. They also enjoyed rides and refreshments as they began focusing their minds on school after the summer break.

The treat preceded a two-week crusade by the church, set to run from September 1 to 15, under the same tent where the children were treated.