Hundreds of Vincentians and other Caribbean nationals on June 22 supported a major fundraising dinner aimed at helping St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The event, held at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn, was the Second Annual Dinner organized by the Bronx-based, nonprofit group, St. Matthias Charities, Inc.
“I’m very, very happy about the support that we’ve been getting right across the board from Vincentian and other communities,” said the group’s president and co-founder, Robert Mc Barnett, in an exclusive Caribbean Life interview.
“We can see an increase in the support we’ve been getting,” he added. “We will like the support to continue, so we can continue what we’re doing to help St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
“It was a wonderful event to highlight what the organization has been doing and to continue efforts, with the support of fellow Vincentians, to give back,” he continued.
Mc Barnett, an aide in the Environmental Service Department at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, said among his group’s goals is furnishing medical supplies to all clinics throughout the length and breadth of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The dinner featured, among others, performances by popular gospel artistes in the New York community; video clips highlighting items donated to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) and other distribution sites in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and a message by Carriacou-born the Rev. Cyprian Joseph, pastor of Crown Heights Gospel Church in Brooklyn.
Gospel and cultural artistes included Vincentians La Fleur Durrant; Anndean Charles, who doubled as Mistress of Ceremonies; Ellsworth Quammie, a former calypsonian, who carried the sobriquet “Life Buoy”; Trinidadian Ruby Collins; and Jamaican Croswell Daily.
Rev. Joseph noted that Mc Barnett’s compassion moved him to help his homeland.
“In many ways, compassion is a litmus test to love, as Jesus loves us,” he told patrons.
“In many ways, when I think about the work Robert (Mc Barnett) is doing, I say to myself, ‘something has to happen to his heart,’” Rev. Joseph added.
“There are lots of things we need to do [to help our country],” he continued. “What we need to do is to see the need and attend to the need. We need to move with compassion.
“Move with compassion for the people who need a healing,” he urged. “So, let’s make a difference. As we see the need, don’t just talk about it – do something about it. I commend my brother [Robert Mc Barnett] and the St. Matthias Charities, Inc.”
Mc Barnett said funds raised at the fundraising dinner will, among other things, help in the purchase of a bronchoscope for the MCMH, which is expected to cost over US$10,000.
[Mc Barnett said he, his wife, Sharon, and Joan Moore, a registered nurse who lives in Queens, recently formed the St. Matthias Charities, Inc., named after the St. Matthias Baptist Church in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that was founded by Mc Barnett’s late grandfather, Archbishop Percival Dick.
Mc Barnett, who migrated to New York in 1980, said his fervent interest, in helping his native land, intensified three years ago after participating in a crusade at home with members of the St. Jude Baptist Church on Bristol Street in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn.
He said his group will hold its second annual fundraising barbeque on Aug. 24, at East 49th Street and Avenue D in Brooklyn.
“The St. Matthias Charities, Inc. continues to seek donations and support, and ask the public to join us at our annual barbeque,” he said.
“We have a list of items that the hospital [MCMH] is in need of, and we want to do our very best to get all items together for the next shipment of the 40ft. container,” he added.