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  • Custos of Kingston, Hon. Steadman Fuller, is appealing to Jamaicans not to turn a blind eye to those in need, but to extend a helping hand to the most vulnerable, particularly the homeless.
  • “No longer can we ignore the indignity suffered by our people on the streets or just pass them off as ‘mad people’. These people are our brothers and sisters and so we are duty bound to exhibit kindness and compassion,” he stated.
  • The Custos said all Jamaicans have a responsibility to help the poor and needy, pointing out that the spirit of giving and volunteerism continues to be the backbone of any successful society.

Custos of Kingston, Hon. Steadman Fuller, is appealing to Jamaicans not to turn a blind eye to those in need, but to extend a helping hand to the most vulnerable, particularly the homeless.

“No longer can we ignore the indignity suffered by our people on the streets or just pass them off as ‘mad people’. These people are our brothers and sisters and so we are duty bound to exhibit kindness and compassion,” he stated.

Mr. Fuller was speaking on Friday (Nov. 21) at the official launch of the Friends of the Marie Atkins Night Shelter Benevolent Society held on the grounds of the downtown Kingston facility.

The Custos said all Jamaicans have a responsibility to help the poor and needy, pointing out that the spirit of giving and volunteerism continues to be the backbone of any successful society.

“We, as a nation, are not going to be judged by the edifices that we put up, but will be judged by how we look after the young, the old, and the vulnerable in our society,” he said.

Mr. Fuller said no one can predict how their life will turn out, noting that many of the people living on the streets are there because of some kind of misfortune and just need a hand to get back on their feet.

“Some have been evicted for the inability to pay rent, others due to the ravages of a hurricane or fire or just plain lack of family support or bad luck,” he noted.

Mr. Fuller also encouraged parents to guide their children along the path of volunteerism. “Make it a part of their psyche. Let them know that they can make a difference in small ways,” he said.

 

In the meantime, President of the Friends of the Marie Atkins Night Shelter Benevolent Society, Patricia Reid-Waugh, said the group was formed to generate increased support for the development of the shelter.

She noted that the activities of the society, which was established in 2013, will include providing funding to assist with the care of residents of the shelter; organising social, cultural and educational events and training for their upliftment and enjoyment; and establishing income generating projects.

She appealed to all Jamaicans to put their weight behind the initiative by giving the group their full support.

“We recognise that the work that we do and the mandate with which we are tasked is very important, because it not only provides financial resources, but it also provides a sense of dignity and self-respect,” she noted.

Mrs. Reid-Waugh said among the projects that the society will embark on is the establishment of a small plant nursery on the grounds of the facility, which will be managed by the residents.

She said the group will also operate a thrift shop at the Redemption Market in order to generate funds. “We really want to establish a centre of economic activity so that people, who are able to be rehabilitated can find work,” she stated.

In addition, Mrs. Reid-Waugh informed that the society has pledged to provide a stipend of $10,000 per month for one year to the night shelter to help with its various projects.

The Marie Atkins Night Shelter officially opened its doors in 1993, to serve the needs of the homeless. It was born out of a partnership between the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, Food for the Poor, the Salvation Army, the police, and other groups working for Jamaica’s vulnerable.

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