Volunteers ready for Mustard Seed's Feed the 5,000 for Christmas Day
With the Yuletide season in full swing, volunteers aligned with the Mustard Seed Communities in Jamaica are gearing up for their Feed the 5,000 community outreach programme slated to take place on Christmas Day.
The annual event will see volunteers visiting various inner-city communities across the Corporate Area, providing warm meals for elderly persons while also issuing stuffed toys and meals to children.
"We have been doing this for the last 20 years, and it is really us giving back to society. Jamaica has been very gracious to Mustard Seed, helping us with the children we take care of ... ," Darcy Williams, executive director of Mustard Seed Communities in Jamaica, told The Gleaner.
In expressing thanks to this year's volunteers, Williams noted that support for the event has remained strong, citing assistance from local agencies like the Culture, Health, Arts, Sports and Education Fund; the Jamaica Constabulary Force; and the Jamaica Defence Force.
"Support in the area of volunteerism has been strong. We have a lot of persons who signed up to be a part of the process. Corporate Jamaica has been extremely generous to us. Many individuals come on board, even members of the diplomatic corps sometimes," Williams added.
Mustard Seed Communities operates 13 facilities in Jamaica, caring for wards of the State with various challenges. The organisation also provides support to teenage mothers, children infected with HIV, and physically and mentally challenged persons.
"In many instances, the children in our care have been abandoned by their relatives. Eighty per cent of them have no one else and have nowhere to go. They are with us for life. Our aim is to develop them into individuals who, if possible, can contribute in some way to society," Williams said.
While acknowledging continued support from corporate Jamaica and other volunteers, Williams added that there was constant need for financial aid as well as persons who are willing to give of their time to be part of the process.