O’Neil Morris, a resident of the Marie Atkins Night Shelter (MANS), feels blessed and upbeat about this Christmas, despite having a misfortune which forced him to become a resident at the shelter.
The Marie Atkins Night Shelter is a project of the Kingston & St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), in partnership with Food for the Poor, The Salvation Army, and the Police Force. It provides shelter and meals for many homeless persons.
Mr Morris, a welder, and a former resident of eastern St Andrew, has lived at the shelter for the past two years, since he was burnt out of his home. However, when the JN Money Services team visited the shelter on December 17, as part of their annual corporate social responsibility initiative, he was grateful for the luncheon and gift items which the company provided.
“Life has had lots of ups and downs for me, but it is still going on. But I am still alive, which is what is important,” he said. “I feel blessed, because it could have been much worse, and, I give God thanks.”
Mr Morris said that after losing all of his possessions, a friend recommended the MANS as a place where he could find lodgings, until he was able to recover.
“A facility, such as this one is good for people like me, because I am now trying to get back on my feet. I also felt happy today, because I was treated to lunch by the JN Money team, and the bag I received will assist me to carry the various items that I have,” he related.
Like Morris, Jemima Mofatt, another resident at the facility, said that she was pleased to be alive to celebrate another Christmas.
“I have been here for four years, after my uncle sold the house I was living in. My employers told me to come here, and I have been here since, trying to get back on my feet. I am happy because I can still move around and earn a living. Because of that, I am happy to see another Christmas,” she related, while thanking JN Money for the luncheon.
Sanya Wallace, senior manager, strategic planning and marketing, at JN Money, explained that treating the residents at the Marie Atkins Night Shelter has become one the company’s main corporate social responsibility projects for the calendar year.
“For several years, we have been treating the residents here to a luncheon at Christmas. We spend time with them and provide them with items which they can use throughout the year,” she explained.
“As a company which believes in keeping families connected, we are committed to giving back to people and assist those persons who are in need. This is part of our commitment, to improve the lives of Jamaicans, not only through remittances, but also by acts of kindness, such as this one,” Miss Wallace said. “At this time of the year, we look forward to ‘spreading Christmas cheer,’ as it is the season of giving, and it also allows us to demonstrate our love for others.”
Mavis Farquharson, Inspector of the Poor for the Kingston and St Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC), speaking on behalf of her team, said that they appreciated the generosity of JNMS.
“We look forward to the annual visit of the JNMS team, and we are always grateful for their contribution. We prepare approximately 150 to 200 lunches per day, and, the number of persons increases during the Christmas season, because they can walk in and we don’t turn back anyone,” Ms Farquharson related.
“The residents love the bags they received, because it helps them to protect their possessions, which they carry around, and the bags assist them to do so,” she said.