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November 25 has been dubbed, ‘A Day of Caring’ by the International Volunteer Day Committee (IVDC), as some 300 volunteers will provide assistance to 300 homeless persons at the St. William Grant Park, downtown Kingston.
Under the project, which represents the national activity to commemorate International Volunteer Day on December 5, the volunteers will feed, clothe and provide medical check ups for the homeless from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Speaking at a recent JIS ‘Think Tank’, Chairman of the Committee, Errol Greene said the event served to build awareness about the plight of the nation’s homeless. “Indeed the good Book says that the poor is always among us,” he remarked.
The Committee, he said, was also seeking to co-ordinate the efforts of all the organisations and groups, which work with the homeless on the special day.
“We have adopted a wholesome approach that will give them a change of clothing, so that they can be clean for a while, and medical attention that they would not have been exposed to under normal circumstances. We are hoping that by sensitising persons and bringing this to the fore, we can do this on a regular sustained basis,” he informed.
In the spirit of the day, Mr. Greene disclosed that several entities have offered support. These include the Poor Relief Department of the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation (KSAC), which has a “very close relationship with the constituents that the volunteers are seeking to serve”, and also Friendly Societies, a number of which normally provide breakfast on a Saturday morning for some of these persons.
In addition, the management of Juici Patties has opted to provide a warm lunch in the afternoon. “We also have a number of corporate sponsors on board. The National Housing Trust and Jamaica National have provided cash and GraceKennedy, LASCO and Food for the Poor have provided goods,” he said, adding that AMMARS has contributed shop-worn clothing.
Donations have come in the form of time, whereby the medical staff from Bellevue Hospital, including the Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Maureen Irons Morgan, and some mental health nurses will be on hand with other medical officials to provide medical check ups. The Ministry of Health will also have a booth to provide information on HIV/AIDS. Members of the Boys Brigade, Salvation Army, Red Cross and students from the University of Technology (UTech), are also expected to be among the volunteers. International Volunteers Day was first observed in Jamaica in 2001. The theme for this year is, ‘Volunteers Partnering for National Development: Together We Can Achieve More’.

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