A group of community volunteers in St. Catherine is gearing up for a second weekend of feeding homeless people during the island-wide lock-down, aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The group – Ewarton Community Development Committee (Ewarton CDC), commenced the initiative last weekend when the island resumed the lock-down measure.
The lock-down will be in effect for three consecutive weekends, ending at 5AM on Monday, April 12.
When the lock-down is in effect, homeless persons are likely to suffer a fallout, considering that some people who usually feed them will not be allowed into the streets.
With that in mind, the Ewarton CDC, with permission from the authorities, started to feed the homeless last weekend from Ewarton district through to Linstead in St. Catherine.
President of the group, Sashoy Thomas, said 20 people were fed with rice and peas and chicken.
She explained: “We received some food items from Food For The Poor last year to assist with feeding shut-ins who were affected particularly by COVID. After we packaged the meals for the shut-ins that we know, we had some of the food remaining.”
Thomas added that plans were made initially to distribute the left-over in December. But the group instead made an emergency decision to feed the homeless during the lock-down.
“At our last executive meeting, it was discussed and decided that, since there will be three weekends of lock-down, we should try and look out for them (the homeless) because nobody would be moving and basically they would have been neglected… So we provided 20 meals for the homeless between Ewarton and Linstead,” Thomas further told The Beacon.
She said her team was impressed by the recipients’ gratitude, and the fact that those in clusters were looking out for each other.
“We saw the need and realized that, if we took 20 more meals, it would still have been distributed to more homeless persons,” Thomas noted.
She said her team, after noticing the need, sought help to provide meals during the remaining two weekends of lockdown – especially throughout the extended Easter weekend.
Thomas added: “We reached out to the current councillor, Mrs. Beverly Jobson, and asked her for contribution. She, in turn, directed us to the Parish Manager who, along with her team [at the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation], is charged with the responsibility to feed the [homeless] persons daily.”
The Ewarton CDC ended up partnering with the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation to feed the homeless during the two remaining weekends of lock-down.
Thomas said the feeding will be done daily from Good Friday to Easter Monday, and during the following weekend – April 10 and 11.
She does not rule out the possibility of the Ewarton CDC continuing the feeding initiative after the lock-down.
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