Spirit of Christmas:SAJ spreads cheer to 50 elderly Greenwich Farm residents
Fifty elderly residents of Greenwich Farm, St Andrew, were the beneficiaries of care packages provided by the Shipping Association of Jamaica (SAJ) as part of its annual Christmas treat last Wednesday, December 8.
The distribution was done at the Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in the Kingston 13 community, where the SAJ’s bi-monthly clinic was also under way.
The initiative is part of the association’s outreach programme targeting residents in the community which borders its Newport West headquarters.
The beneficiaries included patients at the clinic, who expressed their gratitude for the SAJ’s display of Christmas cheer.
The donation of grocery items was presented by the SAJ team of Dionne Mason-Gordon, operations manager – member services; Jean Hinds-Bell, internal auditor; Deanmarie White, occupational health nurse; and administrative assistant Millicent Michael-Henry.
For his part, Dr Lorenzo Crumbie, physician at the clinic, said the SAJ’s intervention has helped to fill gaps in the community’s healthcare.
“It’s a good initiative; it’s an outreach programme that’s getting in touch with a lot of people who would have otherwise been spending hours at one of our public clinics, and because of the resource challenges within the area, so we really have been doing quite a good job,” Crumbie said.
The clinic hosts about 15 people on average, he said, noting that the number varies based on the time of year. “It depends on the season, so during the earlier summer months we usually would see between eight and 10 (people), but once it gets close towards back-to-school period that number can surge up to 20 or 25 patients for a day in the clinic, and that’s a relatively healthy clinic.”
However, he noted that the efforts could be further aided with formal recognition of the clinic’s operations by pharmaceutical providers. “The only thing that we would have to say to improve, is to get some of the pharmacies on board to recognise us as a public clinic. Because the other half of the challenge is that we see them and we identify the complications, but trying to get them to afford the medication that they need to get better is another challenge. Otherwise, it’s a great, great initiative.”
Over the years, the SAJ has also contributed to the operations of the community’s Marcus Garvey Basic School, including assistance with teachers’ salaries, a student-feeding programme, and infrastructural development.