May 2020 Volume 16

KC displays caring side at 95

Reprinted from Jamaica Observer
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Reprinted from the Jamaica Observer

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS

School gives packages to students, staff, and community in COVID-19 initiative

KINGSTON College (KC) marked its 95th year of existence last recently by giving its students, ancillary staff and residents in the neighbouring communities of Central Kingston, food packages to help them weather the vagaries of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The gesture came even as the school had to cancel its usual week of activities in honour of founder, the Right Reverend Percival William Gibson, in whose memory Principal Dave Myrie said the give-back was well suited.

“What more fitting way to celebrate our 95th anniversary than to be of service to our community and to the students we serve. We are doing our small part for the community and for our students,” said Myrie.

The principal, along with members of his administrative staff packaged and delivered over 200 bags containing rice, flour, sugar, bread, biscuits, corned beef, canned mackerel, among other items.

Myrie said that the initiative was in consideration of those students who would normally be receiving free meals if they were still at school. This includes students on scholarship or on the school's welfare programme, as well as those students who are on the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH).

“We know they are not in receipt of anything at this time. We are also conscious that there are a number of persons in the communities surrounding the school who are having significant hardship at this time. The initiative is to support a range of different persons by providing them with care packages that will help them or even slightly alleviate some of the difficulties they are having at the moment,” Myrie stated, adding that 70 care packages would be delivered to residents in surrounding communities and 30 will be given to the ancillary staff.

“We are going to be giving out about 100 packages, as for some of these boys their parents don't have their jobs since all of what has been going on, so it is even more difficult for them. So in total we are giving away over 200 packages today,” said Myrie.

Dean of Student Affairs Kadian Henry explained that there were over 100 students on PATH at the institution, exclusive of those who are on scholarship and on the school's welfare programme.

“Cumulatively we have almost 200 children who are in need. We have a number of students whose parents are unemployed or they don't have traditional jobs so they don't get a salary. So in times like these there would be no money coming in. We have a number of boys on the welfare programme who the school is pretty much responsible for. As a result, when the quarantine started we were very concerned about those boys that the school would usually take care of,” said Henry.

She explained that the funds donated by members of the KC Old Boys Association to purchase food came in surplus, allowing the school to extend the initiative to include ancillary staff and residents in surrounding communities.

“Our ancillary staff is made up of persons who would need the support, and a lot of them live right here in the community, and we want them to know that we are thinking about them and doing what we can to help them at this time. We are reminding them of the love that Kingston College has for them and the family unit that we have here for the students, staff and the community on a whole,” Henry stated.

On Lissant Road, where the small team first went to deliver packages, the Jamaica Observer met 68 year-old Molly Lewis, who had been sitting out on her front steps. Lewis explained that since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Jamaica, she had not left her yard.

“I mek sure keep inside. I have a friend down di road there and from this nasty sickness come here I don't go down there, and I don't even go to the gate to dat,” said the elderly woman.

“I go to the Seventh-day Adventist Church and from this sickness I don't go out on the road,” she added. “Mi know seh mi a guh dead, but mi nuh want this sickness kill mi. When mi ready God must tek mi. Either the pressure must kill mi or mi blindness. But this sickness nah guh tek mi.”

Lewis explained also that one of her daughters died recently and expressed her worry at not being able to bury her as yet.

“She was 55 years old. Sometime mi just siddung and worry and cry, and mi other daughter tell mi nuh fi fret. Every minute mi pressure guh up,” said Lewis.

Jennifer-Lyn Sutherland, 66, a resident whose livelihood was selling in the market downtown, said she had not been to the market since government restrictions on opening hours.

“Mi used to buy and sell, but now that market get so weird with the sickness I don't worry to go,” said Sutherland.

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