Local non-profit group calls on diaspora to ‘give back’

1. Many residents came to the Lions Club to receive their care packages
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Story and photos by Carlena Knight

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One local non-profit organisation is calling on Antiguans and Barbudans living in the diaspora “to give back” to their homeland.

Public Relations Officer of Blessed Hands and Generous Hearts, Carolyn Edwards, spoke briefly on Monday at the opening ceremony for the group’s five-day mass distribution drive when she invited those in the US and other major cities to give back and help those in need in the twin island nation.

“We are inviting Antiguans abroad to help us. Volunteer, give back to your country. It’s not good to say ‘I am from Antigua’; what are you doing for Antigua? How are you helping the people of Antigua?” Edwards asked.

Edwards, who is a veteran of the US Army and a practicing nurse for over 20 years, revealed that she had in fact contracted the coronavirus and could speak first hand of the hardship of not being able to work and how important it is to have people around you to show support.

These were just a few of the many items the group will distribute this week

“Today I am here as a proud nurse and veteran helping my people. I know what it is to be home not working and not having anywhere to turn.

“The pandemic has caused global devastation; one that we are not sure when it will end so, because of that, our group decided that we could not sit back and watch people suffer. We are here to help so today, we will be giving back to you Antiguans that we love,” she added.

Echoing her sentiments was another member of the group, Leon George.

George not only thanked all those who donated but also highlighted the assistance of corporate donors including Sagicor, Kenneth A Gomez, Epicurean supermarket, Valerie Gonsalves-Barreiro and Dr Smith of Trinity Medical Services for going above and beyond.

“This is the type of comradery needed to help the less fortunate,” George said.

The group is also calling on persons who can help with shipping items here to come forward as well.

Blessed Hands and Generous Hearts is a non-profit organisation formed on June 6 2020 to assist the less fortunate in Antigua and Barbuda. Presently the group has an executive of four members in the US and two who reside in Antigua.

They kickstarted their mass distribution on Monday with a goal of distributing food packages, clothing and other items to over 300 families, feeding the homeless and presenting book bags and school supplies to at least 150 children.

The first day of distribution took place at the Lions Club, opposite the YMCA Sports Complex, which saw droves of persons lining up to receive their care packages.

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