Food For the Poor, Bert's Auto Parts to help former national footballerThursday, October 21, 2021
BY JASON CROSS
A more than two-year-long campaign by businessman and sports enthusiast Clive “Busy” Campbell to build a house for 66-year-old former national footballer Miguel Blair has started to bear fruit through a partnership involving Food For the Poor, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), and Bert's Auto Parts.
Campbell was excited as he told the Jamaica Observer about the development which will transform Blair's living circumstances.
Blair has faced hard living conditions since a fire destroyed his four-bedroom house on Water Street in Kingston.
But now there is a ray of hope and Campbell is expecting that the two-bedroom house, which is being built by Food For the Poor with funding from Bert's Auto Parts, will be the ideal Christmas gift for an already excited Blair.
“One thing I can assure you is that his house will be completed before Christmas. There have been others who have been involved in assisting Miguel with food but my responsibility from day one was to see that he gets back his house. Ever since, he has been struggling. It was good news when I was contacted by Food For the Poor last week, and we started after old boys from Vere Technical High School paid the taxes for the land.”
Campbell said a big concern of his was that similar projects to assist former players in need do not fall “under the umbrella of the JFF” and insisted that it should.
He is urging the JFF start a fund to help former national players who fall on hard times.
“That is very important. Seeing that I would never go and open any account and say it is for Miguel Blair or anybody else, the JFF should set it up and give account for it. I believe JFF should be responsible to have an account where people can raise funds to help former players. It's been over two years since talks on this started. I must say I am am disappointed,” said Campbell.
In an interview with journalists in December 2018 Blair said that due to the circumstances, he hasn't been eating right despite people cooking and giving him food or him hustling to find food for himself.
“Most times I don't eat right. I don't eat a balanced meal but I just satisfy with what I've got.”
Blair told the Observer late last week that it was a good feeling knowing that he will receive somewhere decent to live, and shared that he hopes to get a job as a sports officer to be able to pay his utility bills when the house is complete.
“It is a good move that they made. I think it is a long time now they should drop the house. I feel good now that they are dropping the house. They have the pit to dig now and I feel good because I will have somewhere decent to live so I can live a better life than I am living now,” said Blair.
In the meantime Food For the Poor told the Observer that when Blair's case was brought to its attention through the JFF, there was no question that this was a situation that required urgent attention.
“Here was a gentleman who was once at the top of his game, but due to one tragic occurrence, he was left living in less than desirable conditions. This could have happened to anyone of us.
“Going through our usual processes, we were very pleased when Bert's Auto Parts responded by committing to fund the construction of a house for Miguel as part of its anniversary celebrations. This is a solid demonstration of what can happen through partnerships. Yes, Miguel has faced many hardships but sincere thanks to Bert's Auto for coming on board in such a practical and life-changing way,” Food For the Poor said in a statement.