The threat posed by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) did not stop the Hinds Town United Hands Association from observing its first anniversary – something it did in a selfless way.
The organization, which was founded on June 11 last year, is based in the community of Hinds Town, near Ocho Rios in St. Ann.
Its first anniversary celebration was expected to be grand, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizers to scale down.
The main highlight of the day was the preparation and distribution of 170 boxes of cooked food mainly to children and shut-ins who live in the community.
“What we did was to make selected times for different persons to pick up; we had four persons who would issue the food. It is a good feeling to know that persons enjoy what we do and appreciate what we do,” said Dennesah Smith Cooper, a member of the group.
She added: “We celebrated maybe not in the style that we would have wanted, but we let our community know that we are still here and we are still considering them. We we are still working to make Hinds Town a better place.”
Cooper, who is also a nurse, stated that, during the anniversary celebration, steps were taken to ensure that social distancing, sanitization, and other precautions were taken to slow COVID-19.
She told The Beacon that the community, so far, has not recorded any case of the highly contagious and potentially deadly virus.
In the meantime, President of Hinds Town United Hands Association, Marsha Gordon, who lives in the United States, said she is pleased with the progress the group has been making.
“God has been so good to us, and we want to give him all the honour and praise for putting us together as a community group to assist in the many ways we have done. Thanks to the many sponsors who have continuously supported us throughout the year, and we are sure they will continue to partner with us,” she further said.
The association started out by assisting the Hinds Town Basic School with well-needed items, and the grading of an area to be used as a playing field.
It later hosted a summer school with help from some teachers and other members of the community. The initiative had some 40 children in attendance by the second week.
The group expanded its outreach and, with support from sponsors, started a back-to-school assistance programme that helped 50 students with the acquisition of books, bags, and pencils. It also covered school fees for some children for the 2019 school year.
Furthermore, Gordon stated that the group provided ice cream to the three schools in the community, and presented gift items and ice cream as a treat during the Christmas season.
The association, in 2020, decided to cook for the less fortunate persons of the community. That later evolved into cooking for children when the COVID-19 pandemic started.
The group is now preparing for a back-to-school treat, which it said will be held in August.
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