The Canadian-based charity Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation (HHJF) is to build a basic school in Seaforth, St. Thomas, in honour of outgoing Consul General Anne-Marie Bonner.
Chairperson of the HHJF, Karl Hale, made the announcement at the foundation’s annual Jamaica Charity Ball held recently at the Donalda Club in Toronto.
Ms. Bonner will demit office in October after serving as Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto since April 2006.
Mr. Hale, whose organisation was set up in 2006 to assist Jamaica’s health and education sectors, said the school will be built at a cost of C$30,000. The project, he said, is the organisation’s way of showing appreciation for the work the Consul General has done on behalf of Jamaica in Toronto, and for being a member of the board of HHJF, and serving as patron for all four charity balls.
(From left) Jamaica’s Consul General to Toronto, Anne-Marie Bonner; businessman Ray South; Ontario’s Minister of Health Promotion, Jamaican-born Hon. Margarett Best; Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett; and Jamaica Tourist Board’s Regional Director in Canada, Sandra Scott, attended the 4th annual Jamaica Charity Ball held recently in Toronto, Canada.
Mr. Hale challenged patrons in attendance to give to the school building fund and by the end of the event, approximately C$10,000 had been donated or pledged to build the new school.
This year, HHJF is working in collaboration with Food for the Poor (FFTP) to deliver funds to its projects in Jamaica, which include Sandy Bank School in St. Elizabeth; Tennis Jamaica’s school programme in western Jamaica; the Port Antonio Hospital in Portland; Percy Junor Hospital in Manchester; and the Kingston Public Hospital.
Ms. Bonner told the audience that it has been a privilege and an honour to represent Jamaica in Toronto and she thanked the gathering for their generosity.
“I thank all the friends of Jamaica and all the Jamaicans, who support us year in and year out. I have made a lot of wonderful friends here in Toronto and I’ve always enjoyed working with the hardworking Helping Hands team under the leadership of Karl Hale,” she said.
Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, who was in Canada to meet with travel partners, also made an appearance at the ball.
Actors Oliver Samuels (left), and Terri Salmon (centre) join CITY-TV Reporter Dwight Drummond (right), who served as Master of Ceremonies at the 4th annual Jamaica Charity Ball held recently in Toronto, Canada.
Speaking with JIS News, the Minister said the charity ball was an excellent event, and he was impressed with the level of commitment, enthusiasm and energy displayed by the organising team.
“I must commend them on the way they went about generating funds for the educational projects in Jamaica. What it says is that the Diaspora is interested in our future. They are interested in building the human capital of Jamaica, and that’s our salvation. That is how we are going to create the transformation, which will make Jamaica more competitive and survive in a global economy,” he stated.
In attendance were former sprinter Ben Johnson; actors Oliver Samuels and Terri Salmon, who are in Toronto appearing in the play ‘Big Yard’; Ontario’s Minister of Health Promotion, Jamaican-born Hon. Margarett Best; Executive Director of Jamaica Vacations (JAMVAC) Mr. Lionel Reid; Jamaica Tourist Board’s Regional Director for Canada, Ms. Sandra Scott; Air Jamaica’s Manager for Canada, Ms. Norma Sale; Sandals’ Director of Operations in Canada, Ms. Maureen Barnes-Smith; Wimbledon tennis champion Mr. Daniel Nestor; and President of PACE (Canada), Ms. Lorna King.
Patrons enjoyed a tasty meal prepared by guest chef Evrol “Blackie” Christian from Little Ochie restaurant in Alligator Pond, Manchester.
HHJF is made up of Jamaican nationals in Canada, who are determined to give back and help support Jamaica. The foundation chose health care and education as the two critical areas to receive support.