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Educator organises gifts for Sav nurses

BY KIMBERLEY PEDDIE
Observer writer

Friday, September 24, 2021

SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Residents from this parish have made it clear how much they care about staff from the accident and emergency (A&E) department at the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital.

They pooled their resources to ensure the front line workers will have enough to eat and drink for a few days. A donation of 69 KFC meal vouchers, cases of water and juice was made to the staff on Wednesday.

The act of kindness was met with broad smiles, vigorous clapping and loud cheers of appreciation from the more than 20 medical personnel who gathered at the hospital lobby to receive the donation. The gifts were provided by educators and residents who wanted to show the front line workers how much they appreciate them.

Taralyn Coke, the educator who first came up with the idea, told the Jamaica Observer that she was moved to launch the initiative when she saw the hospital workers' stress and struggles.

“We just want you to feel appreciated and know that other people out there care about you,” Coke said as she handed over KFC gift certificates. She noted that Restaurants of Jamaica had provided extra meal tickets so every A&E staff member would be catered for, and no one would be left out.

The stressful conditions at the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital grabbed the headlines recently after reported deaths among the staff and a worrying spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Westmoreland. Head of the Nurses' Association of Jamaica Patsy Edwards-Henry and Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton were among those who visited to bolster staff members' spirits. There have also been other donations from the private sector.

Toni Barrett was among those at Wednesday's handover. She had responded when Coke, who realised that she could not finance the initiative alone, told other teachers about her plan.

“I like to give and I love when persons feel appreciated,” Barrett shared. “I visited several restaurants in Sav to know the procedure for getting meal tickets. We wrote a letter to KFC head office as advised and they sent us an invoice,” she explained.

There were many others who joined in the effort.

“Special thanks to JG Coke Inc, Erica Young, Kadia Cole, Jervis Welch, Emeline Coke, Shericka Campbell, Sanykaye Mundle, Richard Simpson, O'shane Gibson, Restaurants of Jamaica, and Doyle's funeral home,” shared a grateful Barrett.

The gift was welcomed by head of the A&E department Dr Adrian Bringle who thanked donors on behalf of all the staff. Among those who are grateful for the donations is A&E nurse Rennia Lewin. “I am thankful that persons outside are seeing and empathising with us, and ensuring that we have a bottle of water to drink during the course of the day,” she told the Observer.