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Members of 1st Choice Family Services pose for a photo before the tablet distributions at the Tamana Hindu School. ↔ Image courtesy 1st Choice Family Services

Rhondor Dowlat-Rostant

The First Choice Family Services (1stCFS), dedicated to providing services to developmentally disabled individuals in Ohio (USA), has handed out thousands of dollars worth of school supplies, toys and food to T&T families and homeless individuals.

In its project “Mission Giveback” the organisers expressed gladness in the fact that the deliveries coincided with the recent holidays.

Mission Giveback said its goal in Trinidad was to provide relief to those in need. The team in Trinidad made deliveries during a week-long period before and after Christmas, during which 36 boxes of groceries were delivered directly to the homes of those in need in the Sangre Grande vicinity, along with treat bags and more than 100 toys for the children, just in time for Christmas.

Additionally, a group of families with students who attend the Sangre Grande Secondary and Tamana Hindu Schools were given tablets to help their children with online learning.

The team also prepared and delivered hot meals to 100 homeless individuals after the Christmas holiday. The delivery route for the boxed meals began in Sangre Grande and continued through to Valencia, Arima, Mausica, Arouca, Tunapuna and ended in Curepe.

“It was very important for First Choice Family Services to make these deliveries to the families and the homeless,” Shastri Coles, CFO of First Choice Family Services said.

First Choice said they learned of the needs through the local community police and social workers who serve the area before their staff based in Trinidad stepped in to help.

The majority of First Choice Family Services staff is comprised of direct support professional employees aiding the developmentally disabled in their Ohio homes.

“The need for food and the basic necessities is increasing everywhere. We intend to continue our donation efforts here in Trinidad and elsewhere around the world in 2021,” Coles added.

La Romaine Parish gives 62 tablets

Meanwhile, the La Romaine parish community also went on a drive to serve the vulnerable with the help of two main groups – the La Romaine Migrant Support (LARMS -which is focused on the Migrant community) and the Kindness Makes a Difference (KMAD which is focused on the local vulnerable).

These two groups expanded on the ministry of the St Vincent de Paul with the provision of food and grocery hampers, along with mattresses, household items, beds, and clothes.

Among the team of volunteers were ‘experienced teachers’ from Venezuela and some retired teachers from Trinidad who support this process.

The efforts were given a special boost from a Trinidadian/Canadian residing in the Niagara Escarpment who recently contacted Lucille Nathu, a former employee of Catholic Media Services Limited (CAMSEL) to do some research in Trinidad for him.

He became aware of the work of the La Romaine Parish in caring for vulnerable children both local and migrant and his awareness of the programme and his passion for the wellbeing and security of children translated into a gift arranged by Lucille Nathu for the parish to receive 62 tablets and TT$10,000.

This gift was given during the December period and yesterday, after appropriate assessment by LARMS and KMAD, distributions were made to children for access to learning and communication. The cash will be used to assist with groceries and hampers.

The Presbyterian Church has also donated 10 tablets and some La Romaine families have also made donations of learning devices in addition to this large donation.

“We are gradually bringing our Vulnerable (Migrant and Local) population to be able to access education for the greater good of the society ensuring that all our children are given an opportunity of positive learning and communication,” Monsignor Christian Pereira said.