FFTP donates house to Dalling St orphans
SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland - Less than six weeks after Rosemarie Wilson and her common-law husband Junior Pilliner were shot and killed at their Dalling Steet, Savanna-la-Mar home, the charitable organisation Food For The Poor (FFTP), has provided a brand new house for the eight children ages four to 19 years who were left orphaned after the brutal attack.
Earlier this week, FFTP handed over the keys to the house it had constructed on lands adjacent to the dilapidated structure where the parents and children lived.
The intervention of the organisation came after the children's plight was highlighted in a Jamaica Observer West article published on Thursday, February 6, under the heading 'A Cry for Help.'
It was reported that on the night of the killing, gunmen went to the couple's home and called for their 18-year-old son. When the eldest son responded they pounced on him. He scampered back inside the house where he was assisted by his mother in bracing the door to keep out the attackers who tried to kick in the door.
The mother was leaning against the door with her back when the gunmen opened fire, hitting her in the back. Upon leaving, they fired a shot which caught the father in his head, after he was jolted awake by the noise. They both died instantly.
Within days of the publication of the article, FFTP launched a probe into the incident, and at the same time delivered food packages to the family.
This was followed up by the construction of the new dwelling, which is equipped with, among other things, a solar unit that will generate up to 12 hours of power on a daily basis, and a 200-gallon water tank.
The newly constructed house was also outfitted with new mattresses, and according to Jean Lowrie-Chin, an FFTP director, furniture and appliances are expected to follow.
"There is even a solar unit which will provide them with 12 hours of light daily so that is really to get them started again because they do need to have a fresh start and we do need to help to heal the wounds that this family has been suffering from," expressed Lowrie-Chin.
An elated Janice Pilliner, aunt of the eight orphans, who was at the handing over ceremony, thanked FFTP for their kind gesture.
Lowrie-Chin in the meantime underscored the need for four of the eight orphans attending school to continue their education.
"We want you all to know that Food for the Poor will see what we can do to ensure that all four are in school because that is important for their future," she stressed.
Janice, the supportive aunt, who has taken two of her nephews under her care following the tragedy, bemoaned that due to fiscal challenges, at times she is unable to send them to school every day of the week.
"Sometimes mi can only send them to school for three or four days of the week. But mi would like to send them the whole week, but sometimes mi can't afford to send them the whole week. It is a kind of a struggle," she lamented.
Meanwhile, noting that FFTP operates on "the generosity of our donors", Lowrie-Chin commended Fontana Pharmacy, which accepts donations at their branches on behalf of the charity organisation.
"We thank the donors, who have such a heart for our country. We ask Jamaica to stand up for what is right and to support efforts like those of Food for the Poor so that our country can continue to develop and that our children can grow up in a safe and secure environment," she added.
Deacon Baldwin Powell, head of the FFTP in western Jamaica, also hailed the collaboration with Fontana.
"It is really quite a significant partnership to have, all over Jamaica persons supporting us this way. Normally, all of our funds come from overseas, so we are glad that Fontana has led the way," said Deacon Powell.
Pamela Miller, the assistant manager of the Fontana Savanna-la-Mar branch, who was also in attendance at the handing-over ceremony, commended FFTP for supporting the Dalling Street family.
"It is good for Food for the Poor to come in and to offer such support to the family this afternoon," Miller said, adding that "It was just heart-rending when we learnt of the situation."
Meanwhile, 20-year-old mechanic Nicholas Reuben of 135 Dalling Street and 22-year-old unemployed Shane Delliser of Barracks Road, have been charged in connection with the murder of the common-law couple.