THE Kiwanis Club of St Bess has been actively making contributions and raising the morale of individuals working on the front line in Black River and its environs in St Elizabeth, as Jamaica continues to grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The six-year-old service club, comprising 26 members, has over the past few weeks been making donations to the country’s health sector as well as taking the time to honour those who risk life and limb for their fellow countrymen and women amidst the pandemic.
It was on April 15 that club members, led by President Carmen Hamilton, visited the Black River Hospital, where the group donated a number of supplies to be used on the isolation ward to help with the COVID-19 response. Among the items were sheets, pillowcases, and gowns.
“We understand that the isolation ward was in need of certain things and we thought that we would [donate] just that,” Hamilton told JIS News.
She pointed out how critical it was to show empathy to personnel employed in public service institutions, particularly those who are working to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 in Jamaica.
The group later followed up their gesture at the hospital by hosting a luncheon for firefighters at the Black River Fire Station on April 23.
“There have been so many fires over the course of the last couple of days, and it was just a way to let them feel good and thanking them for the work they have been doing,” Hamilton explained.
The president emphasised that while the club’s primary focus is usually on the well-being of children in and around Black River, it is also committed to rendering altruistic service to anyone when the situation calls for it.
“It is also important to take the adults into consideration because we need healthy parents to raise healthy children,” Hamilton pointed out.
“We focus on the elderly sometimes, such as those who live by themselves. We give them gift packages and other things. Also, at this time, a lot of the kids who depend on the Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education [PATH] are at home and might be having difficulty. So, we have decided that we will do some care packages,” she added.
Meanwhile, acting assistant superintendent of the Black River Fire Station, Donovan Clarke expressed gratitude to the Kiwanis Club for the “kind gesture”.
He noted that firefighters at the Black River Fire Station, including those stationed in Santa Cruz and Junction, have been busy battling bush fires over the past few weeks.
As such, he said it felt good, as firefighters, knowing that their efforts as public servants do not go unrecognised as they tirelessly go above and beyond the call of duty to save lives and protect property.
“We appreciate it as an organisation that is a public body. We thank them for their token and when organisations do things like that, we understand that we are recognised out there and feel appreciated,” Clarke added.
For her part, director of nursing services at Black River Hospital, Maria Stampp also praised the Kiwanis Club of St Bess.
She told JIS News that donations will always be welcomed in the public health sector, particularly now with COVID-19 being high priority for medical staff working on the front line. She said it is imperative that hospitals have the necessary resources to continue to house, protect and care for patients.
“Any gift is appreciated, anytime. At hospitals, we always have a little need for any gift at all. It doesn’t matter how small, it’s appreciated,” Stampp said.
According to the Kiwanis Club’s Director of Community Service Ornella Lewis, plans are afoot to raise funds to renovate a library at Pedro Plains Primary School.
“Hopefully, we can pull through with that,” she said, noting that “our motto is ‘Saving the Children of the World’.”
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