Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Fontana's wishing tree a hit, big plans for 2018

Published:Friday | January 12, 2018 | 11:15 PM
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce poses for a photo after making a donation towards the Fontana Wishing Tree, at the St Andrew location recently.

Many wards of the state have never experienced the joy of opening a gift for Christmas. Fonatana Pharmacy has stepped in to make the children's dream a reality with a 'Wishing Tree' initiative.

"During Christmas, our five locations across the island each adopt a children's home in the area. We collect the names, ages and gender of the children and place them on the Christmas trees at each store for customers to purchase gifts for them at a 20 per cent discount," said Kevin O'Brien Chang, Fontana Pharmacy director.

According to fellow director Anne Chang, the Wishing Tree activity has become an annual staple for Fontana customers and staff since its launch in 2016. "Every year, our customers and staff look forward to bringing joy to underprivileged children across the island," she said.

Fontana collates, wraps and delivers the donated gifts to the children's homes just in time for Christmas. Chang emphasised the role that Fontana staff members play in the activity. "Our staff is very committed to the initiative. They are the ones who wrap the gifts and help customers in making the right selections. Some of our staff members also make purchases for the children themselves."

Director Ray Therrien said that after a successful 2017 run, Fontana hopes to garner even more support for Wishing Tree in 2018. "During the recent festive season, we were able to gift all of the children whose names we received. This means so much to the Fontana family. We would like to thank each and every person who made purchases for these deserving kids and we hope that the Fontana Wishing Tree will expand in 2018."

Homes that benefited from the 2017 Wishing Tree activity include: Mount Oliver Boy's Home in Manchester; Mustard Seed Children's Home in St James; Mary's Child/St Anthony's Children's Homes in Kingston; Widow's Mite Children's Home in St Ann; and Clifton Boys' Home in Westmoreland.

The company has also engaged in other Christmas activities such as distributing gifts to hospitals and donating to the West Haven Children's Home; St John Boscoe Boys' Home; Mandeville School of Hope for Challenged Children; the St Ann Infirmary, as well as Christmas treats across the island.

The pharmacy chain was able to distribute gifts valuing more than $500,000 to children across the island.