Western News

Scores of Hanover homeless and registered poor benefit from health fair

Observer West writer

Thursday, January 24, 2019

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LUCEA, Hanover — While some may not say it aloud, many people in this town on Jamaica's northwestern coast who spoke to the Jamaica Observer West last Friday expressed gratitude to the the Hanover Municipal Corporation's Poor Relief Department for hosting a health fair catering to the needs of the homeless and registered poor in the parish.

The sixth staging of the event, which saw over 300 beneficiaries in attendance, was held on the grounds of the Poor Relief Department located on Miller's Drive in the capital town Lucea.

Sixty-eight-year-old Russell Humphry of Epping District, Greenland in the parish, who lost his house in a blaze set by arsonists, was among the many beneficiaries who expressed appreciation for the assistance received.

“They burn down my house about four months now, and there was nowhere where I could look around more than the poor relief, and they have helped me a lot. Mi get little foodstuff and a change (money) sometimes. So, I appreciate and [am] happy for the good that they do, and may God help and strengthen them to continue to do their work,” a grateful Humphry expressed.

The senior citizen, who is recovering from a stroke he got in 2014, said he was at the fair mainly to see the doctor, after contracting the flu recently.

Michelle McKenzie, who had an epileptic seizure the night before the health fair, also expressed gratitude.

“Last night I had fits (epileptic seizure), and mi head hurting mi now. So I got the treatment, and I am going to go home and lie down,” said McKenzie, who told the Observer West that she “always come to the annual health fair”.

At the fair, people also benefited from the services of personnel from the Lucea Fire Department and the Hanover Health Department, which provided two doctors and a dentist.

The scores of clients, who also received refreshments donated by Royalton Resorts Negril and Caribbean Producers Jamaica Limited (CPJ), were also given packages of food items and toiletries.

The poor relief department also assisted people with transportation to and from the fair.

Inspector of Poor Neika Edram expressed gratitude to the sponsors and participants who assisted in making the event a tremendous success.

“Just to say thanks to everyone for making the registered poor persons feel special. Because if you look around, I see CPJ, Royalton, Sandals... the passion in giving back is overwhelming. They did not hesitate to say 'I am on board.' They have been a tower of strength to what is happening here,” Edram said.

“Also, to the (Hanover Municipal) corporation. They (employees) turned out to assist in serving, because this year our clients did not get up to be served. They were served seated. Normally, they would form a line and access the services. We even had Rusea's (High School) students on board,” said Edram.

She added that the feedback from clients who look forward to the annual event has been great.

“They look forward to it based on previous experience. They look forward to, most of all, the packages. Sometimes what we give they can't even carry it, because it is two packages with toiletries and foodstuff, such as rice, flour and sugar, which are collected from hotels and business places within the area,” she explained.

Public Relations Manager for Sandals Negril Region Jervene Simpson said the resort has been partnering with the poor relief department since the inception of the fair six years ago.

“For six years we have been donating, and every year we donate for their food packages. So we do rice, flour, sugar, cornmeal, most of the supplies that they would put in their packages to the indigent. Additionally, we (Sandals Foundation, Sandals Negril, Beaches Negril and Grand Pineapple Negril) bring clothing items and school packages,” said Simpson.

Deputy Mayor of Lucea Andria Dehaney Dinham expressed delight at the outcome of the event.

“The poor relief department falls under the Hanover Municipal Corporation. So we are instrumental in the whole planning of this event, providing resources and also to seek corporate sponsorship for this event. So agree ,it is our responsibility, and I think we have done it well today,” Dehaney Dinham said, adding “today's event is one such event that we are supper-excited about... taking care of our registered poor within our parish.”

Representatives from the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, and Rural Agricultural Development Authority were also on hand to sensitise beneficiaries on their services and how they can access them.

Kool Running Water Park among others, was also sponsor of the event.

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