For the seventh consecutive year, Jamaican Correctional Officer, Donovan Small, prepared and distributed cooked meals on New Year’s Day (January 1, 2021), to elderly residents and the less fortunate in sections of Ocho Rios / St. Ann.
With the help of relatives, friends and members of the Bamboo United Pentecostal Church, Mr. Small delivered 480 lunches to the homeless and the elderly in Bamboo and Philadelphia, Wards at the Widow’s Mite Children’s Home, in Murray Mount, and residents at the Grace and Glory Nursing Home in Brown’s Town.
The Correctional Officer, who is passionate about helping those in need, said he is continuing the tradition of his mother and grandmother who instilled in him the value of impacting lives in a meaningful way.
“My heart burns when I see them on the street and I say there goes me, had it not been for the grace of God. My heart pains me when I see them, so I decided to cook because somebody has to care for them. My grandmother used to do the same thing and also my mother, who is deceased, and I started this over six years ago,” he shared.
“I enjoy doing it and every year it gets bigger and bigger. Today we catered to 480 people. Some of them [street people] came to the church, as I saw them on the street and I invited them down… and they were so pleased; you could see it on their faces, they light up,” he added.
Mr. Small said despite the challenges posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, a number of Jamaicans living overseas as well as a St. Ann businessman, were able to contribute to the imitative.
Operator of the Ocho Rios Jerk Centre, in St. Ann, Kevin White, who donated 300 pounds of Jerk Chicken and beverages to the initiative, told JIS News that he was happy to give back to the less fortunate.
“It is a pleasure to be a whole part of this initiative and anything to do in regards to giving back, especially at this time of the year. It is always a pleasure for me and when it was brought to my attention, I was more than willing to be a part of the whole movement,” Mr. White said.
He is encouraging more Jamaicans to commit to assisting those in the society who are in need.
Meanwhile, 28 year-old Omar Hudson who has been living on the streets, said he is grateful for the meal and expressed joy that “someone was looking out for him.”
“I feel good. People who do these things and give out food a nice people and look out for people. I like those type of people. So, I want to tell him thanks for his hard work,” he said.
Ruby Francis, 85 years old, who also benefited from the initiative, praised Mr. Small and his team for their continued support.
“All the while he helps me, so that’s very good. Sometimes he gives me money and sometimes he gives food. So, I feel good and I have to give him [Mr. Small] thanks,” Ms. Francis said.