The Helping Hands Jamaica Foundation (HHJF) is a young organisation that has done a lot of good in its three short years of existence.
Formed in 2006 with a mandate to assist Jamaica’s health and education sectors, the organisation has so far donated more than C$127,000 (J$9 million) to its Jamaican recipients.
Committed to making a difference for its recipients, Helping Hands Jamaica tries to donate to the same group of recipients each year, in the hope that after a few years of receiving funds on a consistent basis, a big change will occur.
Some of the auction items at the 2008 Helping Hands’ Jamaica Charity Ball.
In the health sector, the recipients – Port Antonio, Cornwall Regional, Percy Junor and Kingston Public Hospitals – have received a combined sum of C$60,000 (J$4.5 million). Similarly, recipients in the education sector have received a total of C$67,000 (J$5 million). These recipients include Sandy Bank School in St. Elizabeth, Bethel Baptist Basic School in St. Thomas, and Grange Basic School in Westmoreland. A donation has also been made to Tennis Jamaica to support a Tennis Programme at several primary schools in Trelawny and St. James.
The idea to form the organisation came from Jamaican-born, Mr. Karl Hale, who also serves as Chairperson for the group, whose members are all Jamaican born and are committed to Jamaica. The members include Consul General, Ms. Anne-Marie Bonner, Ms. Denise Jones, Ms. Norma Sale, Ms. Sandra Scott, Ms. Alene Miller-Chen and Mr. Mark Josephs.
Mr. Hale, a former tennis champ who represented Jamaica for a number of years, tells JIS News that Helping Hands has been making a difference and the recipients are “doing wonders” with the funds they have received.
Jamaica’s Consul-General to Toronto Canada, Ms. Anne-Marie Bonner (centre), welcomes some of the attendees at last year’s Helping Hands Jamaica Charity Ball. From left are: Mr. Keith Lawrence, Ms. Deloris Lawrence, Mr. Ron King and Ms. Lorna King.
“For instance, Port Antonio Hospital has bought foetal monitors, an autoclave machine, electrocardiogram machine and a refrigerator to store blood. Students and teachers at Sandy Bank School are no longer suffering from dust caused by the gravel driveway, because with the money they received, they were finally able to pave the very long driveway and also paint the entire school,” he says.
Grange Basic School, while not an ongoing recipient, was able to install a new roof, thanks to funds received from Helping Hands Jamaica. For Bethel Baptist Basic School, it needed several items in order to be able to register as a licensed basic school under the Government’s new rules for registering basic schools.
Helping Hands Jamaica raises the funds for recipients through the successful staging of its annual Charity Ball. Held in September at the exclusive Donalda Golf and Country Club in Toronto Canada, under the patronage of the Consul General to Toronto, patrons are treated to an exciting evening of “good food, good music and good fun.”
Sports personality, Mr. Donovan Bailey, addressing patrons at the 2008 Helping Hands Jamaica Charity Ball.
A part of the evening’s festivities includes a silent and live auction segment. Some of the items for bidding include airline tickets to Jamaica; accommodation at some of the island’s prestigious hotels; computer and entertainment equipment.
Attendees at last year’s Ball included sports personalities Mr. Daniel Nestor, Mr. Donovan Bailey and Mr. Ben Johnson; Ryerson University’s Chancellor, Mr. Ray Chang; and Canadian Idol judge, Mr. Jake Gold.
The next Jamaica Charity Ball will be held on Friday, September 25, at the Donalda Club starting at 7:00 p.m.