Hundreds of inner-city residents gathered at the Reach Out Youth Organization (ROYO) Community Centre, Banyon Lane on Saturday (October 5) to receive care packages and back-to-school supplies being distributed during an event dubbed ‘Family Fun Day.’
From 12 noon to 2:00 p.m. residents in need had the opportunity to enjoy free food and treats, before collecting their care packages.
In an interview to announce the event, ROYO President Dudley Seide and his wife Katie agreed that they were just continuing their efforts in terms of being their brothers and sisters’ keepers.
“Just after the storm we got back to work, right away. We normally have our Feeding Programme and two days after the storm, we had the kitchen going and folks within the community were coming into our kitchen.
“We would like to send a special thank you to the group out of Tampa, Florida, Brandon Academy that R. H. Culmer and family galvanized, as well as Juda Hepburn and James Culmer. They started to get the ball rolling on what is taking place here as well.
“I was surprised when they called me up to tell me that they had some items that I should come and collect. I believe that some of the big concerns were ensuring that the items get to the folks that really need it. They told us that they trust our organization and because of them, we were able to get water, grocery items and hot meals out to people,” said Seide.
“This mission is continuous. Our real concern was to make sure that after the storm and months later, when everyone else has shut down, that our organization will stay firm, continuing our programme. This is going to be a long process and I think that everyone wants to start something, but I believe that in another two-to-three months, many will stop. However, we are trying our best to continue this long after,” he informed.
Seide added that it is his hope to continue forging meaningful partnerships with others, both locally and internationally, to continue his post-Hurricane Dorian reach-out ministry, so that persons throughout the community will have the opportunity to receive care packages and other much-needed items on an ongoing and consistent basis.
Seide acknowledged that it was his intention to move into Phase Two of his distribution.
“We intend to move onto our Second Phase, which involves delivering items to homes. When we first started we asked persons to come to the center, however we realized that only persons that had access to vehicles were able to come and pick up the items. Now what we are doing is distributing the items to families in Hawksbill, Heritage and other residential areas, dropping off care packages from door to door, to make sure the folks that really need it, are getting it.
“I must say that there are a lot of items here on the island, but we want the wider community to continue to pray for one another, especially those who may have lost loved ones.
“Everyone is speaking about us rebuilding but a lot of persons have to first rebuild in their minds right now, because it is hard. My heart also goes out to persons that had a home, made all of these investments and have now lost all,” Seide noted.
Seide expressed that the rebuilding stage is good and very much-needed.
“However, if we do not pour into the minds and hearts of our people it will be in vain. That is why I try my best, every time I go on Facebook, I try to leave encouraging words. We all need to continue to encourage others; let them know that it is ‘OK’, we can rebuild, we will rebuild and that is why we are still here. We have stood the test of time; we were knocked down in 2004 and we are still here.
“I take my hat off to all of the volunteers, especially to my wife Katie. We have worked around the clock. Our home was under water in Hudson Estates; we did not even have a chance to go there, we took out some things but we have been pretty much here 24/7. We are actually living in the center right now and so it has been hard on us as well but we realize that our entire purpose is to take care of the people,” he noted.