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Operation Help the People serves food... and a purpose

BY DANIEL GORDON Sunday Observer writer

Sunday, August 24, 2014    

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VOLUNTEERS and members of the charity Operation Help the People (OHTP) recently distributed more than 800 care packages and boxed lunches to the residents of three Kingston communities as part of their drive to help the less fortunate.

OHTP was conceptualised by teenager Caleb Jackson. It is a non-profit organisation with a vision of helping underprivileged individuals in Jamaica.

OHTP has as its mandate the assistance of communities and hopes to make a difference to those individuals in need of food and other supplies.

The volunteers met up in New Kingston and started out on their charitable journey to Trench Town, downtown Kingston and Cross Roads.

"My team and I have gone days without sleep for this project to be a reality. I am really fulfilled by doing this charity. I won't stop until the necessary changes in Jamaica are made," Jackson told the Jamaica Observer.

"With the next project I plan to implement a skills and training programme for the youth. My team and I have high hopes to make a difference in these underprivileged communities. Other organisations in Jamaica and the United States are seeing the work we are doing and have even approached us in partnering and helping to continue what we are doing," Jackson went on.

OHTP gave out the care packages, boxed lunches and also interacted with the residents of Trench Town.

The members and volunteers took pictures and spoke to the people and even played football and dominoes with the young community members.

Jackson took his team of about 30 volunteers into Trench Town, loaded with approximately 300 boxed lunches and care packages and assembled them in a room in the old Ambassador Theatre.

When the team got there, residents, mostly elderly women, were already seated and awaiting the OHTP team.

As the OHTP team got into action, they began interacting with the people of Trench Town, listened to their views on what could be done to better their community and even joked around with them.

"We really need help. We need something for the youth. All dem do is play football and walk up and down in the streets. We gone five months without water. We have to be carrying water like is country we deh," one elderly resident said.

"We want the public service to take away the light from the people who bridge it. We light bill bigger than Jamaica," another resident complained.

Even though the residents were appreciative of the food and the care packages, they were hoping for a bit more assistance.

"This me wait up how long for? We want jobs, food, shelter and Jesus. Even if ah fi clean toilet we will do it," one said.

Diandra McPherson, a member of OHTP, was unfazed and engaged herself in conversation with the residents. McPherson tried to get an understanding of what could be done to better the life of the Trench Town people so that she could get ideas for the future projects for OHTP.

"What I would like to see is this Ambassaador Theatre get fix up. I use to go there when I was young. The youths dem get something fi do. Mi have 30 grandchildren and dem nuh have nothing fi do a day time and some of the youths don't have no manners and end up in bad company," the woman said.

Some of the elderly residents could not walk to the distribution spot, so volunteers Dennis Ziadie and Selena Jutton went to their assistance.

Their first stop was the house of an elderly woman who earlier that morning had been released from hospital.

"Thank you for the food. I really appreciate it," the woman said feebly.

The volunteers then went to a house where there was a slightly blind and deaf woman. Her grandchild assisted her by holding the food and sitting her up.

"We are a group of young individuals who care and came to Trench Town to hand out food and care packages," Ziadie said.

The elderly woman's grandchild had to repeat everything to her, as she could not hear clearly what the volunteer was saying to her.

She reached out to Ziadie's hand, thanked him for the work that he and the OHTP team were doing, before resting her head on his chest and cried.

"God is good!" the woman exclaimed.

The volunteers also visited an elderly couple. The woman was fully blind and slightly deaf.

"You are good people," the woman said.

As the distribution of the food and care packages was going on, news spread throughout the community and more people started coming. The 300 care packages and boxed lunches were finished in less than an hour.

The OHTP team then decided to walk the streets of Trench Town and interacted with its people, getting an understanding of what they have to go through on a daily basis.

The team did not pass one resident without either speaking to them, taking pictures with them and trying to find out what else could be done in the community for future projects.

"Please come back, we are grateful for this," one resident said.

While the OHTP team was downtown there was one woman who expressed the possibility of committing suicide, as she could no longer bear her living conditions.

OHTP member Nathan DeLisser counselled the depressed woman and prevented her from taking her own life.

"To see young people come into our town and take the time to care for us means the world to me. You are the future of Jamaica. This is such a beautiful thing to see. Please don't forget me," she said.

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