Thu | Dec 8, 2022

Local Santa brings Christmas cheer

Published:Sunday | December 6, 2020 | 12:18 AMOlivia Brown - Sunday Gleaner Writer
Anna Chang-Liao hands over voucher and tablet to worker, Theresia Currie
Anna Chang-Liao hands over voucher and tablet to worker, Theresia Currie
Anna-Chang-Liao handing Christmas gift to Shavan Chambers.
Anna-Chang-Liao handing Christmas gift to Shavan Chambers.
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CLARENDON:

Employees of National Self-Serve Wholesale in May Pen, Clarendon, are basking in early Christmas gifts and have lauded their employer, Anna-Chang-Liao, as their ‘local Santa’. Chang-Liao, co-owner of the establishment, surprised her staff with much-needed resources – ticking off items from their Christmas wish list.

The philanthropist, who was conferred with the national Order of Distinction in 2019 for entrepreneurship and philanthropy, gifted her employees with cash for home construction and improvement, among other donations.

Chang-Liao told The Sunday Gleaner that she became cognisant of her workers’ needs through daily conversations.

“Not everybody can see Christmas, so I said I want to make it look different. I said let me treat my workers and give them a helping hand. I’m always around them and I hear what they’re going through and the struggles they are experiencing. It’s Christmastime and the spirit of Christmas is helping and giving,” she said.

Hailing her employees as hard workers, Chang-Liao said she was compelled to make a difference in their lives this Yuletide season, recognising that they contribute immensely to the business.

“Once you treat the workers good, they treat you good. If you show them respect, they show you respect. When you treat them nicely, they look out for you and put more effort in the work,” she added.

Referencing the Jamaican motto ‘Out of many, one people’, Chang-Liao said, “Everybody is equal – we’re all one, so we just come together like a big family.”

One worker, Shavan Chanmbers, beamed when he spoke of his Christmas gift.

“I was very surprised … me never expect anything. A pack me a pack and she just shock me with the gift,” shared an enthused Chambers.

“Miss Anna is a loving lady. I like how she stick around us, laugh with us and talk with us. You see her on the ground all the time and you can always talk with her.”

“I got a tablet and voucher to go to the hardware to get cement. I am so happy, I am overwhelmed. Miss Anna has done a lot for me. She make me house start from bottom and right now it up a top. Miss Anna just gives, gives and gives. You can talk to her about anything,” said another worker, Theresia Currie.

SON INSPIRED

Chang-Liao’s philanthropic ventures have served to inspire her 21-year-old son, Christopher, who donated to vendors of the May Pen Market earlier this week. Christopher, a member of the James and Friends Education Programme – a charity organisation based in the parish – was made aware of the plights of vendors through letters sent to the foundation.

One vendor, Pauline Carty, shared with The Sunday Gleaner that she struggled to find the remaining $25,000 to complete payment for her $35,000 glasses prescribed three years ago.

“I am very grateful and I really appreciate it. I have difficulty reading fine words, so I really needed it, and the selling slow and then the virus put a stop on everything,” she said of the help she received from Christopher.

Another vendor, Claudette Campbell, said her Christmas wish was a microwave, which was also granted by Christopher.

“It’s good to give back to the community because they support the business. I also feel proud of my mom because she’s a person who always helps people – she helps in any way she can. I’m happy my mom is a philanthropist,” the proud son declared.

Christopher said his dream is to venture into more charitable work and spread more Christmas cheer.

“I want to help make people happier for Christmas and help with their Christmas wish,” he said.

editorial@gleanerjm.com