Community group rallies support for the needySunday, August 08, 2021
MIDDLE QUARTERS, St Elizabeth — As is the case with many community groups, the 16-year-old Middle Quarters Community Development Committee (CDC) has had its ups and downs.
“There have been times when we have gone almost dormant for one reason or another,” president of the group Stashauna Burnett told the Jamaica Observer recently.
However, an upbeat Burnett says the development committee has been on top of its game in more recent years, striving to make a positive difference for people in the community, particularly those least able to cope with hard times. She observed that the novel coronavirus pandemic has had a particularly devastating effect on the lives of the unemployed, aged, mentally ill, and destitute.
That reality has motivated the Middle Quarters Community Development Committee to “reach out” using assistance initiatives, with resource support from the private sector.
One such project was carried out recently with care packages being distributed to “needy” families and more than 200 people being fed a hot meal.
“Because of the COVID-19 protocols only about five people turned up for meals but we made deliveries all over the community,” Burnett said.
She hailed a range of private sector companies for giving generously to make the project possible.
“They not only gave, they came out to help. I really have to say special thanks to Sandals South Coast; Lydia Auto & Accessories; Wysynco; Food For the Poor; GraceKennedy; Caribbean Broilers Group; Jamaica Biscuit Company; James Quarry, Machinery and Haulage; Jones & Fairweather's House of Rest; Scope Academics; Call Centre Solutions; JD's Wholesale; and Red Barn Farms,” she said.
Burnett also thanked residents of the community and Jamaicans abroad for their support. Member of Parliament for St Elizabeth South Western, Agriculture Minister Floyd Green; Kadijah McIntosh, runner-up in the Miss Jamaica World pageant 2019; and Councillor Withney Smith-Currie (Jamaica Labour Party, Bromption Division) were among those providing support and turning out to help on the day, she said.
A similar assistance project was carried out in early 2020 and over the last two years initiatives by the Middle Quarters CDC have included back-to-school treats and a health fair in 2019 which facilitated dental care for more than 200 children. In 2018 the community group organised a major community clean-up and tree planting, Burnett recalled.
Also, the Middle Quarters CDC has partnered with the National Insurance Scheme to help individuals to register and receive assistance, she said.
Looking forward, Burnett said the community group has plans to lobby for and execute sports facilities for Middle Quarters.
“Right now, we don't even have a playfield; we need to do more for our young people. One important thing to do is to get a netball/basketball multipurpose in place,” she said.
She noted that among the CDC's “proud achievements” in earlier years was the initiation of a successful project to expand Middle Quarters Primary School.
— Garfield Myers