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Noreen Daley helps to alleviate student hunger

Published:Monday | April 2, 2012 | 12:00 AM
Noreen Daley
  • Distributes free food items to needy NCU pupils

The heartbreaking plight of one hungry university student and the challenges he has been through touched her heart and awakened her spiritually, bringing out the passion she had for people.

"One day, while I was providing dinner for a student, he began sharing his financial hardship. It was something I could not relate to because I always had persons, aside from my family, looking out for me. I was moved by his stories and anyone who had a heart would have been prodded into doing something for him," said Noreen Daley, who is an assistant professor at Northern Caribbean University (NCU).

Out of a desire to satisfy not just academic, but also the social needs of students, Daley, with the help of Rona McKoy, initiated the ALKAY's 'feed the working student programme' (FTWSP) in 2008.

The programme was implemented after she learnt that many of her students and, by extension, the university student population, on many occasions slept on hungry, churning stomachs.

The feeding programme continues to grow as a small representation of corporate Jamaica and non-profit entities, such as Adventist Relief Agency (ADRA), make contributions that advance the cause.

Many hands

Through the programme, Daley ensures that at least once per month, needy students are provided with food items.

Impacting people's lives has been her passion. She wants to make the world a better place, so Daley, like the circus juggler, creates the illusion that she has many hands.

"Much more can be done, but this is my little contribution and it makes a difference. Furthermore, people function better on satisfied stomachs, and the students are grateful because it alleviates some financial burden," she stressed.

Camoy Spencer, a third-year working student at NCU, is one of many students who benefit from the programme. For Camoy, financial woes are cushioned by the programme.

"I've benefited tremendously. As students, we are not financially stable. Sometimes, I don't have any food in the house and they give food every second weekend, " commented Spencer.

Spencer finds the loyalty displayed by Daley and McKoy through ALKAY rare and in demand. She banks on the programme and waits in line every second Friday for a full basket.

"I admire their loyalty. Every second Friday they are here. If it is raining, they are here. On holidays, when students return home to their families, they are here. I am really grateful for what they are doing," said Spencer.

ALKAY boasts a track record of delivering quality in work done. This company is responsible for some of the Adventist-owned Hope Channel productions which were recorded in Mandeville.

In her capacity as assistant professor, Daley teaches debate and argumentation, group dynamics, leadership and oral communication. Through the group dynamics course, she has implemented what is called service learning, by mobilising students to become agents of change by performing deeds for various institutions in Mandeville.

Many benefits

The Albion City Mission Basic School is a beneficiary of this initiative, and school principal Frances Williams is very appreciative of the students who have been instrumental in meeting some of their social and financial needs.

"Miss Daley has been sending students to me and I appreciate this very much. These students make a difference every year. Last semester, the students painted the classrooms and blackboards, installed face basins, and cleaned the school yard. One year, we got a microwave, a stove and a bed. They have been alleviating quite a bit of stress," the principal said.

Daley's life is one of service, service rendered through teaching, her greatest accomplishment is not the awards or the academic accolades but when students remark that she has impacted their lives.

"Whatever I do has to do with something that deals with service. If you're on this earth and not making it a better place for others around, what's the point? Service. That's what's important to me," she said.

Nurtured in humble beginnings by highly motivated parents, Daley hails from the quiet hills of Manchester, where too often social, financial and other needs are shrouded by the perception that this is the home of the bourgeoisies.

She has been the recipient of a special award, being recognised for her more than 13 years' service in teaching at NCU.

"I love my job. This is without a doubt what God wants me to do. Trust me, I'm not here by chance," argued Daley.