Grand Bahama Children’s Home Xmas Carnival termed a success

ENJOYING THE FESTIVITIES — G.B. Children’s Home executive director Shiela Johnson-Smith (center) is pictured with patrons of the home during the Christmas Carnival. Pictured from left are Carol Smith, Hertz Car Rental, Johnson-Smith, Christine Van der Linde (at rear), GB Devco and Ruthnell Dames, teacher Walter Parker Primary.      (PHOTOS: JENNEVA RUSSELL)

Located on Tripp Circle, The Grand Bahama Children’s Home was transformed on the first day of the month for one of their largest fund-raisers, that of their Christmas Carnival, an event geared “to ring in” the festive season.

Residents of the Home, friends, supporters and well wishers, joined in the day filled with exciting events, prizes and surprises this past Saturday December 1. All proceeds derived from the event were returned to the Home, to purchase much needed food supplies for the residents.

Organizers of the event, ‘Friends of the Home’ are a group of individuals who have come together, with one common goal in mind, to raise desperately needed funds to maintain the Home and the children that it houses.

Sarah Stretton, Member, ‘Friends of the Home’ spoke about the primary purpose of the ‘Friends of the Home’ group.

“We do fund-raising events, primarily for our monthly food program that we run for the Home.

“This is the fifth year that this event has been in action. Unfortunately, due to Hurricane Matthew we did not obviously have one that year and we did not have it the following year. What we did was downsize it, just hosting it for the children of the Grand Bahama Children’s Home, during those years. This is actually our first year getting back into it, hosting it for the entire community

“It has been fantastic; the weather could not be more perfect. We were hoping for a breezy cool day and so far, so good. It has been wonderful. We have had a great turnout and we are hoping that many more come out through the afternoon.

“This year as well we also had free entry and so anyone was welcomed to come along and enjoy the afternoon with us.”

With an array of food and drinks on sale, all in attendance enjoyed the festivities at the Home.

“For the children, there are face painting, cookie decorating and lots of games where everyone wins a prize, along with the bouncing castle, and great entertainment.”

A Junkanoo segment also took place during the event..

“It is a very worthy need for the Home. On average we spend between $700.00 to $1,000.00, per month, on food alone. You can imagine, there are currently about 20 children in the Home and so that is a lot of food, breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks. We assist in providing that, and so every month we are given a food list, and we go along with the food donations. All monies are held in the Grand Bahama Children’s Home account. The ‘Friends of the Home’ do not have the monies. We simply go and shop for the items, basically, like we would do for our own homes.

“We encourage everyone to follow us on social media, ‘Friends of the Home’ on Facebook, and Instagram. Our Christmas Carnival is our main event but we also do many other fund-raisers throughout the year, so, please follow us on our social media. Please like our pages and see what we are doing.”

She went on further by encouraging persons to volunteer their time or service to the Home, as every little bit truly does go a long way.

“As you can see here today there are so many people that volunteer their time to the Home. That is actually how I first came into the Home.

“We are always in need of volunteers. As you can see from our event today, so many people freely give up their time, and want to come out and help. There is always a need. We would never turn anyone away. That is also one of the reasons that we encourage persons to follow us on Facebook and Instagram so that you can see what we have planned.

Ken Lane, Pastor Lucayan Presbyterian Church was also on hand, in full support of the Grand Bahama Children’s Home Christmas Carnival. He expressed that such an event is so important to children, especially those that reside at the Home.

“We love supporting the kids. It is great for the kids to have a place like this to come to, a place where they are safe, have enough to eat, a roof over their heads; all of the things that we want to ensure that kids have.

“The Carnival provides two things. Number one, it provides an event for them. It is right here on their grounds. There are a lot of fun things for them to do, but also, the money that is raised here, allows the kids to do some other things. It allows the Children’s Home to take care of the kids in a way that we would love to see kids taken care of,” he said. Aliv representatives were also on hand for the event as the telecommunications company was one of the event sponsors.

Desiree Joseph, Marketing Coordinator, Aliv stated how pleased Aliv was to once again partner with the Home for the fund-raising event.

“We are so excited to be here at the Grand Bahama Children’s Home Christmas Carnival. We believe in the best and we believe in helping the community and doing what is best for the community.

“Being here with the Grand Bahama Children’s Home Christmas Carnival is something that we feel that we have to continue to be a part of, every year. We are so excited to do it, to see the kids, to have our team out here, selling phones, selling top up, interacting and getting to know the community better.

“We decided that we would sponsor this year, and we are giving one of the grand prizes which is a brand-new Samsung S8 which will be raffled. We also support the Home, whether it is monetary donations, whether it is to brand an event, bring our tents to help out a little, to defray costs in any way; that is how we are sponsoring this event.

“Any event that the Home has, just like the Thanksgiving luncheon, just like this, or any other event that they have, we try our best to be a part of it and try to give as much as we can,” concluded Joseph.

Other sponsors that the Grand Bahama Children’s Home expressed sincere gratitude to, for making the Christmas Carnival a huge success, included:, Balearia, Bootleg Chocolates, Goombayland, Pelican Bay, Sands Brewery, Senor Frogs, Upstairs Restaurants and the countless donors and sponsors that wish to remain anonymous.

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