Refuge of Hope gets donation worth $250,000 from JCA


Refuge of Hope gets donation worth $250,000 from JCA

Thursday, February 18, 2021

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ALBION, St James -Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) recently presented toiletries and other supplies valued at $250,000 to the Refuge of Hope Shelter in Montego Bay under its corporate social responsibility programme, the brainchild of Commissioner of Customs Velma Ricketts Walker.

Refuge of Hope Shelter – a home away from home for the mentally ill, indigents and homeless — is operated by Open Heart Charitable Mission through a memorandum of understanding (MOU)with the St James Municipal Corporation.

An appreciative shelter manager at the facility, Junice Woolery Norman, told the Jamaica Observer West that due to the nature of the work done at the shelter, toiletries and other items are always needed.

“I am truly, truly appreciative of this gesture from the Jamaica Customs Agency. If you take a look at the number of toilet papers that they have brought to us…it is a necessity, and we are grateful for stuff like that,” she expressed.

Senior director for Jamaica Customs Agency, western region, Claudette Coombs McHayle, noted that apart from collecting taxes, the agency is also mindful of giving back to the community.

“Members of the Corporate Social Responsibility Committee are mindful of the role that we play in terms of educating the people. We are also mindful of our environment, the social aspects of our people, and so, apart from collecting the taxes which fund the national budget — that is one of our responsibilities — we are also mindful that these are challenging times now that we are operating in a pandemic, and so we try to give back to the community to contribute to the welfare of the human being,” stated Coombs McHayle, adding that the items handed over “show that we do care about our people.”

And noting that the clients at the shelter are being taught basic life skills “so that they can make something of themselves”, Woolery Norman called on the public to consider employing them.

The training programme offered includes farming, needlework, arts and crafts, and basic reading and writing skills.

“We would like for them to be gainfully employed to the point where they can take care of themselves,” Woolery Norman stressed.

Coombs McHayle said the customs agency is impressed with the work being done at the shelter, and is willing to continue working with the facility.

“We want to continue working with the facility here because we are so impressed with the magnitude of work that they do. It is not just a shelter where people just come in, sleep and eat, but Mrs Norman is also involved in reintegrating people in society. She also builds on their life skills, and then she gets them reintegrated into society so that they can become meaningful contributors, and so we want to continue working with her in that light,” Coombs McHayle argued.

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