Sandals South Coast partners with Springfield CDC to provide care packages for St Elizabeth’s elderly
(Lr) Michael Ebanks of the Social Development Commission (SDC); Springfield CDC Vice President Michelle Malcolm; resident, Rose Brown; Springfield CDC President Vern Stewart and Sandals South Coast volunteer Susan Johnson pause for a symbolic photo before distributing care packages to elderly residents of Springfield and surrounding communities.
ST ELIZABETH, Jamaica – Twenty-five elderly residents of St Elizabeth were recently visited and received a hot meal from the Springfield Community Development Commission (CDC) as well as bags of groceries and personal care items courtesy of Sandals South Coast.
One of the recipients, 94-year-old Jane Poyser, kindly hosted the small contingent of volunteers who came to her Cheviot Hills home, which she shares with her 76-year-old daughter, Phyllis Steven.
Sandals South Coast public relations manager Rochelle Forbes-Reid said they were to join the Springfield CDC after the Commission said the COVID-19 pandemic had hampered their ability to carry out their activities. usual awareness.
“We knew we had to do something when we received a letter from the Springfield CDC indicating that they had been unable to carry out their usual outreach activities for children, the elderly and the locked in, over the past two years due to the pandemic,” Forbes-Reid said.
On that note, Forbes-Reid ventured with a team of Luxury-Included® resort able-bodied volunteers into the communities of Mount Olivet, Cheviot Hills, Springfield, Four Paths, Jointer and Broadleaf, all in St Elizabeth.
The team was led by nurse Nicola Cameron-Nembhard, community health worker at Springfield Health Centre.
“Sandals South Coast is the first hotel to answer our call in this way,” said Cameron-Nembhard.
She noted that while the Springfield CDC had a plan in place to reach out to elderly residents, they had encountered a problem — providing all the necessary items, getting around quickly, to anyone who needed them.
“The South Coast sandals came to our rescue; ride with us and deliver those care packages and meals. We were thrilled to see the appreciation and the smiles on the faces of the seniors,” she said.
However, while that business has been successful in connecting with those most in need, Springfield CDC President Vern Stewart said there’s a bigger challenge for Springfield and many rural communities across the island.
Stewart said the Springfield community is filled with an aging population as more young people migrate to other parishes or overseas in search of jobs and a better way of life.
“It left the older people to support themselves and of course those who don’t have the support of their neighbors or church groups to visit and provide them with a meal will struggle,” Stewart said.
Realizing this a few years ago, Stewart understood the urgent need for his group to reach out to these residents. This marked the start of an initiative that would see the distribution of care packages to the elderly.