Approximately 300 households in Portland are benefiting from food and other items through a special distribution package being undertaken by the Jamaica Red Cross, Portland chapter, which is aimed at providing assistance to the indigent and the disabled.
Emergency Chairperson of the Portland Red Cross, Eileen Davis, said that the initiative came about out of a genuine need to assist residents during the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. She pointed out that the distribution has impacted several communities across the northeastern parish, where residents have been very receptive.
Davis, who is spearheading the distribution, told The Gleaner on Wednesday that the Portland Red Cross is focusing on providing care packages to needy residents. These include persons who may have lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, those who are living below the poverty line, the physically challenged, and persons affected by mental illness.
“This is our fifth round of care package distribution, where we have served the vulnerable. We have volunteers that go out in the field to identify the vulnerable in the various communities. We have area groups in Coopers Hill, Buff Bay, Hope Bay, Fruitful Vale, and Port Antonio. These area groups are assigned to cover communities in those areas, and the care package distribution started in 2020. We have served over 300 households throughout the parish, and residents are very receptive towards this initiative”, said Davis.
“It is an ongoing project and we also get assistance from Food For The Poor, and those items are packaged and distributed. Red Cross is meeting the needs of community residents, and each household, comprising five persons, receives one care package containing food items, sanitisers, and toiletries. The packages are intended to last for five days in each household,” she added.
So far, the communities that have benefited from the initiative are Coopers Hill and its environs, Buff Bay, Hope Bay and its environs, Hart Hill, Tom’s Hope, Fellowship, Drapers, Port Antonio and its environs, Kensington, Claverty Cottage, Manchioneal, and Hector’s River.
Among the items placed in each care package are two large corned beef, three canned sausages, four pounds of sugar and three tins of sardine. Residents also received two bottles of cooking oil, four pounds of cornmeal, bath soap, toilet tissues, hand sanitisers, four pounds of flour, and an equal amount of rice, floor sanitisers, and red peas.
“I met with one of the recipients on Tuesday who expressed appreciation for the care package. So, people are indeed very grateful and appreciative of what we are doing. It is a rather difficult period for everyone, more so [for] those that are unable to fend for themselves. So we in Portland are very grateful for the forward-thinking on the part of our main Red Cross office, which continues to focus on assisting the needy and the less fortunate,” Davis noted.