Nearly two months after a Government operated drop-in centre opened in Buckfield, Ocho Rios, St Ann, the operation is steadily improving. The centre, funded mainly by the St Ann Municipal Corporation (SAMC), caters to the needs of the homeless and less fortunate by providing cooked meals, a place to shower and change clothes, and occasionally to receive medical attention.
Jamaica Today paid the shelter a visit and upon our arrival, was greeted with a warm welcome and soothing Christian worship music. Sandra Brown, Administrator of the Drop-In Centre along with Marva Hall of the Poor Relief Department of the SAMC shared with those who came for lunch.
The area was set up with beautiful, clean table linen and each patron or street person sat comfortably with their meals. Ms Brown told Jamaica Today of the usual routine of the centre which included devotion and breakfast in the morning, then lunch at 12:30. Everyone is allowed to have a shower, wash their clothes and receive spiritual counseling. The shelter sees about 30 to 40 people per day for lunch or hygienic needs.
On June 21, medical personnel paid a visit and administered medication to the clients who utilize the facility. The clients also received haircuts and clean clothes. That Ms Brown described as a “beautiful day”.
Ms Brown expressed the visions of partnering with HEART Trust NTA to facilitate lifelong learning skills for the less fortunate, with the hope of helping them get back into the system of providing for themselves and becoming functional in society.
The shelter is funded by a joined partnership with the St Ann Municipal Corporation (SAMC), The Ministry of Local Government and various community groups.
Ms Brown said the ultimate aim is to eventually have a sleep over facility.
By Cristal Gooden