Saturday 15 December, 2018

Hundreds turn out for CVSS’ Day of Care

Volunteers sort clothes that were donated.

Volunteers sort clothes that were donated.

Hundreds of indigent persons flocked to the St William Grant Park in downtown last Saturday for the Council of Voluntary Social Services’ (CVSS) 13th annual Day of Care as they were presented with care packages, clothing, medical assessment and edutainment on various health and social issues.

More than 200 volunteers, both young and middle-aged, bustled around to cater to the needs of some 800 of the nation’s indigents.

Winsome Wilkins, chief executive officer of the CVSS was impressed with the number of persons who turned out to volunteer.  In fact, the turnout was much more than anticipated, she pointed out.

“This has been a big one for us. What it tells me is that persons do care.  All were excited to be here for this special day,” she said while reminding that the Day of Care formed part of the annual celebrations for International Volunteer Day, which is observed on December 5.

The CVSS CEO also said the use of social media in promoting the Day of Care was especially helpful in bringing out the youth. In fact, she was able to single out first-time volunteer at the event, Sarrah Ann Allen, head girl of Ardenne High, whose friend forwarded her a tweet regarding the day.

For Sarrah Ann, who has a passion for volunteerism and decided to come on her own, the event represented an opportunity to fulfil just that. “I have been a dressmaker, a chef and everything in one.  It has been really nice talking with the persons who came. They really appreciated when I was able to sit with them and have a conversation,” she said beaming.

The highlight of the day, she said, was when giving a dress to one of the persons in need she received an unexpected expression of gratitude.

“The lady hugged me, saying “thank you”. She told me she was going to look so pretty going to church. I felt so happy for her,” she mused, adding that she was volunteering again next year.

The CVSS’ CEO was heartened by Sarrah Ann’s attitude and the many others like her, who were present. “The more the youth are baptized into the culture of volunteerism it makes the sector more sustainable and resilient,” she noted.

Winsome Wilkins (left), chief executive officer of the CVSS  interacts with Sarrah Ann Allen, head girl of Ardenne High who participated in the Day of Care event organised by the CVSS at the St. William Grant Park in downtown Kingston.

Rohanna Chance, who is a HEART/NTA Professional Girls Institute trainee, described the day as being a fun adventure while attending to her first customer, wheelchair-bound, Angella Allen Reid.  She disclosed that 15 of her fellow students were present to offer their services. They were seen providing shampoo and styling services with an evident alacrity of spirit, to their very grateful customers.

For her customer, Allen Reid, Chance’s assistance was welcomed.  A first timer too benefitting from the event, Reid came to have her teeth and eye attended to. However, upon seeing the hair services available, she decided to get her hair twisted by Chance.

 “The whole experience was very good. I look forward to coming again next year now that I know about it,” she said.

Meanwhile, in addition to the high volunteer input, the CVSS’ CEO remarked that the success of the day was also attributable to support from corporate Jamaica, the CHASE Fund, Kiwanis Club of Sunshine City and Food for the Poor, who provided cash and kind. This was in addition to, the Poor Relief Department and Marie Atkins Night Shelter, which assisted in mobilizing those in need to attend and the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation for the use of the park.

Since 2005, the CVSS, through the National Volunteer Centre has hosted “Day of Care.” Dr. Polly Bowes-Howell led the volunteer planning committee.  International Volunteer Day 2018 will be observed under the theme, “Volunteers build Resilient Communities”.

Volunteers came from the NCB Foundation, Joan Duncan Foundation, JN Foundation, Spanish-Jamaican  Foundation, Flow Foundation and Pure Ministries International. Representatives from Jamaica Medical Doctors Association provided medical services; Jamaica Diabetes Association, administered foot care; FISH Medical Clinic rendered dental services; Jamaica Society for the Blind, provided vision screening; and, HEART/NTA offered hairdressing and barber services and the Boy’s Brigade provided Logistic support.

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