WITH the festive season upon us, a great deal of focus will be on people spending as much as they can on food, clothes and luxury items they would have wanted all year. Many might even present expensive gifts to their friends and loved ones.
Unfortunately, there are people in desperate situations who would settle for no more than a can of peas, a pair of shoes or a shirt to lift their spirits. In many instances, parents who might have lost their jobs – or couldn’t find one all year – are feeling a deeper pain at this time in not being able to provide their children with the basic necessities let alone any semblance of the Christmas cheer.
Thankfully, there are people in our midst whose passion for social responsibility have quickened them to volunteer their services towards meeting those needs. The Lucian Aid Foundation, which began in the community of Praslin, is a non-profit organization registered with the Ministry of Social Transformation.
For some years now, the organization has been providing developmental support throughout Saint Lucia with particular emphasis on the island’s east coast. Among Lucian Aid’s primary goals are alleviating poverty, reducing crime and promoting youth development and adult education.
The organization started in 2010 as an after-school programme to help school children with their homework, later blossoming into an extra-curricular activity group for children. After realizing that some children were showing up hungry or with tattered clothes and shoes, the group expanded its work and began providing hot meals.
The organization’s members fluctuate in number depending on the number of activities on Lucian Aid’s agenda at any given time. However, president/founder, Sirnatira Peter, said the focus remains on getting the work done and serving as many people as possible.
“During the past six years, we’ve had a number of programmes,” Peter said. “With the youth development programme, we try to partner young inexperienced people with companies willing to train them, such as Sandals Resorts, which has helped them a great deal and even hired some of the trainees. The sports development programme promotes anything sports-related: from activities and competitions to providing athletes with sporting equipment.”
The organization even conducts clean-up campaigns to rid our beaches of debris washed ashore or discarded indiscriminately by people who frequent those areas.
Through Lucian Aid’s feeding programme, hot meals and food hampers are provided to many people who find it difficult to source a basic meal. Quite often, other personal necessities such as toiletries and clothing are provided. Peter said the organization’s work demonstrates the need to be our brother’s and sister’s keepers.
“It is our belief that those before our time paved the way for us. So we felt we should only do the same for them and those coming after us. We also have to show gratitude for our elders’ work and sacrifices,” Peter explained.
To fulfil its mandate, individuals and companies – both local and overseas – make regular contributions, especially when Lucian Aid organizes their regular food drives. Peter expressed gratitude to all benefactors and is appealing to anyone wishing to make a donation to do so by contacting them via the organization’s Facebook page, Lucian Aid, sending an email at email@example.com or by calling her at 723 6066.