Regional

'That is not going to stop me'

Man still commits to feeding homeless although attacked by one

By Renae Dixon Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Monday, March 17, 2014    

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Charles Simpson, a former homeless man who has been feeding street people for years in the resort town of Ocho Rios, St Ann, was recently attacked and injured by one of the men he was providing with food.

But although the attack has left Simpson with a gash to his head which required five stitches, he has no intention of ceasing to feed these street people who have been rejected by society.

"A lot of people say if it was them, they wouldn't feed them again," he said.

However, according to the man who knows first-hand what it means to be homeless and hungry, is not planning to throw in the towel anytime soon.

"That is not going to let me stop," a defiant Simpson said.

According to Simpson, he was handing out food to several homeless persons on the bridge along the Ocho Rios bypass when he spotted the man and called him over. However, instead of coming to collect the hot meal, the man allegedly hit Simpson with a stone.

Simpson said he understands that the man is mentally ill and is not aware of what he has done.

"When you are in a mental situation, it can play out anytime," he explained.

The 69-year-old Simpson said he has known the homeless man for years and has always had a good rapport with him.

Simpson said it is quite ironic, as this man has always been the one to talk to others about their bad behaviour.

"Him coulda kill mi, but God knows best," he said.

"I know when I see him again and say it to him, him going to say is not him," Simpson added.

The man, he said, was taken to the hospital for psychiatric treatment.

Simpson revealed that many of the persons on the streets with mental illness are given medication by the health department whenever they can be found.

"Ah the first anything like this ever happen to me," Simpson said.

He explained that the incident happened near the police station and so he rushed there for help.

"All now I don't know where the box with the food dem turn," he said, adding that he had to abort his feeding mission that day.

Not daunted by the attack, Simpson was out three days later feeding the homeless.

Simpson has been receiving assistance from the St Ann business community to carry out the feeding programme; however, he continues to seek assistance as he works to increase the project to help even more homeless persons.

Simpson feeds 25 to 30 persons daily and believes that if the assistance is given, he may be able to go back to feeding up to 70 persons in and outside of Ocho Rios.

Although he is ill, the elderly man is not prepared to give up on helping those in a position he knows so well. Persons wishing to donate items to the feeding programme may contact Simpson at 889-0408 or 310-4578.

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