Jodian Duhaney: Spreading hope and giving back through social media
When the coronavirus began spreading across Jamaica, sending many into quarantine and lockdown, Jodian Duhaney stepped up to the plate to assist those who were unable to provide for themselves.
Duhaney’s initiative, Just4Charity, started small, with a WhatsApp status letting her contacts know that she would be helping those in need during the pandemic, and $5,000 of her own money. With that post, her friends quickly followed suit. They jumped on board to help the social media influencer prepare and distribute care packages.
She also received sponsorship from RIU Hotels and Resorts and other anonymous donations.
Motivated by the support, Duhaney got to work and documented every step of the journey, from buying and collecting supplies to packaging and distribution.
“It’s all recorded and either posted openly or privately to the donors, depending on how the recipient feels about being out in the eyes of the public. We respect their privacy at all costs,” she told The Gleaner.
Care packages include items such as canned goods, rice, flour, cooking oil, ketchup, snacks and beverages.
“Our packages aren’t huge, but they can go a far way in feeding an individual. We have been to the communities in St James and Trelawny like Zion, Old Road, behind the highway, Grange Pen in Lilliput and Skateland. We have since broadened our scope to Westmoreland, St Elizabeth and, recently, St Catherine,” said Duhaney.
To date, she has distributed more than 200 care packages in some seven communities.
But it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. There is much Duhaney would like to do and give, but she thanks her partner, Tafari Forbes, for putting it all in perspective.
“I remember my fiancé saying to me, ‘someone’s waiting for you to change their circumstances and that’s more important’. That hit me hard,” she shared.
Duhaney recalls one particular house visit where she could not hold back her emotions.
“We stopped at a house and kept calling. The grass was high, and we didn’t hear anyone. We were about to leave when Suzie, my friend, saw an old man’s hand. Walking in a yard with dogs and no fear, we met him laying on the floor of the veranda.”
His wife had gone to get food and he was waiting for her return.
“We asked if he wanted our care package, he said ‘yes’ and then proceeded to ask if we could give him items to cook, [and] was happy to receive a package,” she shared.
They’ve since been back to the location to share more donations. Duhaney adds, “A friend of mine saw the video and told me that she wanted to give her donations to him. So, we returned and, again, was greeted by his genuine smile as he expressed his gratitude.”
She continues to raise funds for Just4Charity, using a variety of means.
Duhaney entered a competition with recording artiste Razor B, where she was hoping to be the cash prize winner of CND$200. When she disclosed how she would be spending the money, the artiste and his wife put the competition aside and jumped on board the initiative, donating the above sum.
Duhaney expressed love and appreciation to her donors, both silent and otherwise, for their unwavering support. “And I don’t mean only the persons giving items. I mean the prayer warriors and the well-wishers. I’m super grateful,” she said.