Volunteer feeding vagrant
Volunteer feeding vagrant

A group of citizens along with the clergy of the Roman Catholic Church have teamed up to organize a feeding programme in Roseau for the less fortunate, destitute and vagrants.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused great hardship for the average citizen through layoffs and businesses closures but for people on the streets of Roseau the situation is much more precarious. So, for these people the feeding programme has been a blessing.

Hazel Edwards, a citizen of Roseau, is at the forefront of ensuring that vagrants receive breakfast and a meal at lunch-time.

"I am from Roseau Central and I know everyone. I know those on the streets, where they reside and how to find each and every one of them so that is not difficult," she said.

She said that when the year started she told herself that she was going to give back and organize a feeding programme for those on the streets.

"I took up that initiative and when COVID-19 came about we were hampered but I still continued in a small way," she said. "I am up early to prepare. I do lunch and dinner and the breakfast is on the church. When we started it was about 35-40 but now we feed about 100 people daily," Edwards stated.

Fr. Nigel Karam, Dean of the Roseau Cathedral and Fr. Branker John, parish priest of Grand Bay are also part of the programme.

"It started after the lockdown and the restaurants were limited in how they operate. We saw it fit to organize a feeding programme. We decided to provide a hot meal for them during the day," Fr. Karam said "We organized our parishioners and members of St. Vincent De Paul. We started to purchase at first and then made contact with bakeries, for bread, and business places and they were very kind and generous and that made it much easier for us".

Fr. Karam said the beginning was difficult but now it's moving on well with a few minor hitches.

"We are trying to get more and more people on board and hoping that it will blossom and grow…it continues because of the generosity of business places etc. and the purpose is to provide for the homeless," Fr. Karam said.

Fr. John said when the idea was shared by his fellow priest he had no hesitation in being part of it.

"We felt as the church family we needed to help our brothers and sisters especially during the COVID pandemic. The intention was to pull back when the restaurants opened. But we can't. As long as the Lord provides we will share. People contribute cash and kind and time. And Hazel Edwards is a tower of strength in all that," he said.

He continued, "It was a challenge at the beginning but it has become less burdensome as the time goes by. It's a simple breakfast but it's better than none. We want to continue to say thanks to all our social partners and all those who are involved, thanks be God to all".

"So all I will say is: "remember the Malawi," Fr. John said referring to the title of one of his Calypsos.