Thunderous applause emerged from an audience in Linstead, St. Catherine, while 45 students from the parish collected envelopes with cash to do Christmas shopping.
The students each collected $3,000 from the Beecher Foundation, headed by returning residents Pauline Beecher and her husband Claude Beecher.
Mrs. Beecher told The Beacon that, although the sums may appear small, the message is big.
“It may seem like a little for the students, but they, in turn, will grow up and realize that somebody was kind to them [and] so they can do the same. What I am interested in is the rotation of the gift,” she said.
“I see myself as a hand of change because God can only change the world through us… We don’t do Santa here; we do Jesus Christ.”
Mrs. Beecher lauded her sponsors.
For four consecutive years, she has been spearheading two major treats annually – one in the summer and the other at Christmas.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this year, did not derail her benevolence.
She stated that, in August, she shared $50,000 evenly among five students.
On Sunday (December 13), she distributed $135,000 evenly to students during an event held at Charlemont Open Bible Church in Linstead.
Elaborating on the latest offer, the philanthropist stated that, through selected schools, her foundation targeted 50 students who are in need this Christmas, and who have displayed great potential and good behaviour. Five of them did not show up to collect their cash.
The batch of recipients is from Charlemont Open Bible Church, as well as four primary schools – Jericho, Cedar Valley, Time and Patience, Simon, and Bermaddy.
Principal at Simon Primary, Nova-Dean Samuels-Lee, expressed gratitude to the Beechers, adding that her students travelled miles from the Sligoville area to accept the donations.
“It is an awesome feeling because they come from all the way in Simon; that is up in Sligoville, and they made the effort to come,” she noted.
The principal further stated that the donations are extremely important and timely, considering that many households have been hard hit by COVID-19.
“It is extremely important because some persons have lost their jobs and all of that, and $3,000 in a household now can go a far way,” she said.
Meanwhile, Kay-Ann Constable, whose daughter Lee-Anna Fray is enrolled at Simon Primary School, joined in expressing appreciation.
“It is not really about the amount of money,” she told The Beacon. “It is the fact that my daughter is able to recognize that she has done nothing, but kindness was extended to her. She will learn from that.”
The children – many with smiles etched on their faces – have different plans for their funds. Raydon Johnson, who attends Time and Patience Primary, said he wants to purchase a remote-controlled car.
Whatever their plans, the little ones apparently cherish the very thought of being able to obtain something they didn’t have.
“It feels good,” said Daniesha Hall, a student of Bermaddy Primary School. Her sentiment was echoed by the other recipients interviewed by The Beacon.
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