THE Salvation Army last Wednesday brought smiles to the faces of scores of Jamaicans afflicted by disabilities senior citizens as they collected food packages from the charitable organisation four days before Christmas.
The blind were among the people who crowded the entrance to the Salvation Army office on Lyndhurst Road in St Andrew from early morning, awaiting care packages.
Visually impaired William Afflick, 69, told the Jamaica Observer that he was appreciative of the food package gifted to him.
According to Afflick, with the help from the Salvation Army he is anticipating a good Christmas.
"I feel good. Sometimes it is very rough for me; other times it is not so rough. I feel good I live to experience another Christmas," said Afflick as he made a request for another gift — the Government fixing sidewalks to accommodate blind people who travel the streets — even though he knew it would not have been delivered before Christmas.
"My biggest disappointment, apart from crime and violence, is the poor sidewalk, with open manholes. Over the years I have been calling radio programmes and nobody has been giving the problem any attention. For 2023 we would like it if the Government would give us better sidewalks," Afflick said.
Sandra Pusey, 56, who is visually impaired, told the Sunday Observer that she, too, was grateful for the package of rice, peas, and numerous other food items she collected on Wednesday.
"I went to the Salvation Army School for the Blind at 57 Mannings Hill Road. Salvation Army always provides for us and give us things when it comes on to Christmas. They are a loving set of people," Pusey said.
An elderly man, Edmond Pusey, expressed appreciation for the kindness of the Salvation Army but recommended that they organise the distribution of care packages so the disabled are not shoved aside by able-bodied people.
"Mi feel alright about the package but let me be honest, mi nuh like how dem run di affairs. The people who are elderly and disabled don't have any chance when dem come here because the able-bodied people decide fi trample dem. If you talk, people want to beat you. Plenty of them say they don't business with the blind.
"Dem supposed to take all the people who are disabled and deal with them first. When yuh done with them and send them out, yuh take in the rest of people who can manoeuvre. People in deh with good eyesight and see the person with the cane and a push fi get through before them," said Pusey.
"Is only Jamaica I see these kinds of things. I have gone to America, I have gone to Canada, and no able-bodied person steps up in a bus before the disabled or the blind. It is a wrong set-up. You need proper organisation in this country.
"You will go to the bus stop and a pure animal you go buck up pon. If there is a blind person, they want to draw them and fling dem one side fi get inna di bus before them. They don't consider that the person can't see and night a come down. Allow the the person to go into the bus," added Pusey.