Urban Renewal celebrated over 170 local senior citizens during an early Christmas Luncheon on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, at the Bahamas Union of Teachers (BUT) Hall.
Senator Dr. Jasmin Turner-Dareus, Deputy Director for Urban Renewal Grand Bahama and Bimini shared details about the event during an interview with this daily.
She stated that this was their first time hosting the event.
“Regularly, we would have done a Thanksgiving Luncheon; we weren’t able to carry out the Thanksgiving Luncheon but we wanted to. Many of the seniors were asking me because they are accustomed to us taking care of them, providing them with good food and giving them an atmosphere of good entertainment,” she said.
She noted that often, people are not able to go out and be entertained so events like this provide that experience.
Turner Dareus furthered that Grand Bahama has been through a lot in the last few months and it is important that the community embrace one another especially the elders.
“We appreciate them; we are thankful for them, because if it wasn’t for them we would not be here,” she said.
She added that Urban Renewal wanted to let the senior citizens know that they are loved and will not be forgotten.
Turner-Dareus expressed that the Christmas Season is such a special time of the year, where persons show their love for one another.
“Even if you don’t have gifts to give, you share the gift of love,” she said.
She noted that representatives from the five constituencies – East Grand Bahama, Marco City, Pineridge, Central Grand Bahama and West Grand Bahama – were acting as servants to senior citizens.
“They’re from all across Grand Bahama,” she said.
Turner-Dareus also took the opportunity to deliver a special message for the Grand Bahama community in light of the holiday season.
“We want the community to know to share love, give joy, the gift of hope, a kind word, a good deed, during the Christmas time because you would be surprised at how you could uplift someone’s spirit, encourage a heart and really provide hope to someone in need,” she said.
She reiterated that residents have been through a great deal this year, but there is still much to be grateful for.
“We’ve taken great blows, but God has still been good to us and if only to celebrate and share the gift of life I believe we should do that,” she said.
Attendees were treated to gifts and performances by the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) Pop Band and several speakers, including Rev. Dr. Clarke, President of the Northern Convention for the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Superintendent of Police Doyle Burrows, and more.
Supt. Burrows told attendees that Christmas is one of the most wonderful times of the year.
“I want you to know that we enjoy celebrating Christmas with you,” he said.
He added that the guests deserved to be treated in such a way, particularly after making it through Hurricane Dorian.
“Being a Dorian survivor, we have cause to celebrate … It doesn’t matter if you have a gift, you have the gift of life,” he said.
Supt. Burrows also noted that the event was a great display of community appreciation and celebration and he expressed hopes that it continued for years to come.
Kendal Culmer, Chief Councilor for the City of Freeport echoed similar sentiments.
He stated that since Dorian the Council have been doing a great deal and are often faced with the question of who is served first in the community.
“At the top of our list is always the seniors, we always look after the seniors first,” he said.
He added that the elder generation is the reason why the country has progressed.
“You mean a lot to this country; you have done us well,” he said.
Marjorie Darville, Urban Renewal Central Grand Bahama also gave remarks at the luncheon when she welcomed attendees and reminded them of the season’s purpose.
“I extend a warm welcome Merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is the reason for the season,” she said.