SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — We Care Social Outreach Development Limited's recent donation of medical supplies worth £5,000 to the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital is already making an impact. Items included clothing and drinking cups for the paediatric ward along with equipment that will help patients who have a challenge walking on their own.
"The donations created a buffer to our stock as these are items used daily," said hospital administrator Tanecia Tomlinson. "The walkers were welcomed by the physiotherapy department; these items deplete quickly as Westmoreland is the capital for bike accidents."
Westmoreland, which relies heavily on bike taxis, is known to have a high rate of traffic crashes. In January alone, 106 victims of motor vehicle and/or motorcycle smash-ups registered to access care from the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital. Most needed walkers.
We Care's donation was made on January 30 after it added the medical facility to the list of charities it has been helping over the years. The goal is to add more schools and hospitals to its list of beneficiaries who are assisted through its yearly donation drive. As the charitable group's founding president, Kevin Josephs explained they were impressed by the hospital's care of a smaller donation and so decided to give them even more support.
"The first thing we [donated] to the Savanna-la-Mar Hospital was a bicycle and they are taking good care of it; so it is the first time we donate[d] medical supplies," Josephs said.
The hospital's administration has been generous with praise.
"The Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital is encouraged by this partnership and we are truly grateful for the donations of the medical sundries," its CEO Camille Lewin told the Jamaica Observer West. "This donation will assist with the continuity of care for the people of Westmoreland and its environs. We thank We Care Social Outreach for their kind consideration and look forward to a fruitful partnership."
The eight-year-old foundation originated in Southfield, St Elizabeth, and consists of two other members in addition to Josephs: Director Devon Kinkead, who is a founding member, and secretary Patsy Kinkead.
Josephs explained how it all began.
"Eight years ago I went to church at the St Mark's Anglican Church in Southfield. I was looking on the kids with their shoes coming off their foot and their [ragged] clothes and I said to my friend, 'These people don't have it but they make the effort, so I want to help them'," he told the Observer West.
On his return home to the UK Josephs began asking for donations.
"What I didn't get, I buy — and that is how it started," Josephs said with characteristic pragmatism.
The foundation began by distributing children's clothing and, soon after, adult clothing as well. Seven months after the first donation it was officially registered as a charity; this allowed it to be able to get medical supplies to Jamaica. The members partnered with United Kingdom-based Kingsley Shipping, which handles all their shipping needs, and expanded donations beyond the church to include Black River Hospital and some schools.
Now, We Care Social Outreach Development Limited donates medical supplies, clothing, and groceries three times per year to the Black River Hospital, various schools, the Mandeville Hospital and Savanna-la-Mar hospital. In addition, it operates a monthly feeding programme via St Mark's Anglican Church in Southfield, St Elizabeth, through which it provides hot meals, groceries and clothing to approximately 80 individuals each month.
The organisation intends to keep expanding its outreach progammes to include more schools and hospitals. It is hoped other Jamaicans overseas will join in the effort.
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