Making A Difference Initiative donates school, health supplies to Grenada

Acting Principal of the St. John’s R.C. School, Ian George (left), accepts school supplies delivered by Fr. Leroy Hopkin, facilitator.
Judy Lewis-Joseph

The New York-based collective of philanthropists known as the Making a Difference Initiative (MDI), on Jan. 17 and 23, delivered items from two large barrels of adult and children diapers, chucks (underpads), irrigation syringes, and school supplies, to the Hillsview Home for the Aged, the St. Peter’s R.C. Primary School, and to the General Hospital in Grenada.

The items, intended to positively impact the education of children and the health of seniors and children, were delivered by local Catholic priest, Fr. Leroy Hopkin and community leader, Judy Lewis-Joseph, on behalf of New York-based donors, Christine Grant, Cheryl Vincent, Gerry Hopkin, Burgess McPhie and Whisky Shippers & Movers, Inc.

Fr. Hopkin, the parish priest at the St. David’s R.C. Church, who cleared the barrels of donated items from Customs in Grenada, is the local facilitator of this second donation of the “Making a Difference Initiative” (MDI). Lewis functions as co-facilitator.

At the Hillview Home, the donated items were received in a brief handing-over ceremony, by the Administrator, Sonia Duncan and her team; while at the R.C. School, Acting Principal Ian George did likewise with students and teachers in attendance. Among the teachers present was Jean Noel, the aunt of donor Vincent.

At these ceremonies, Fr. Hopkin commended the donors for their generosity and urged the beneficiaries to make good use of the items. Both administrators expressed gratitude for the supplies which they noted are crucial to the execution of the services they offer.

The principal donors and organizers responsible for the sourcing of this donation, are New York-based Grant, occupational therapist and business owner; Vincent, a community organizer, registered nurse, recording artiste and entrepreneur; Hopkin, a community organizer and consultant in communications, public relations, law and small business development; and McPhie, a technician, pannist, recording artiste and entrepreneur.

The international cargo company, Whisky Shippers & Movers, partnered in this initiative by providing free shipment of the barrels, while Gerry Hopkin of the Hopkins Consulting Group, LLC, provided logistical coordination.

“Making a positive difference, is what we are about, with the intended beneficiaries of the items being the children and seniors of Grenada,” said Vincent, Grant, Hopkin and McPhie, in a joint statement.

Grant, Vincent and McPhie are from Gouyave, St. John’s. They are also founding members of the historical Spice Island Youthquake (SIY) folk-liturgical group and active leading members of the longest continuously running similar Caribbean group in the Diaspora, Quake USA (an offspring of SIY). Co-facilitator Lewis-Joseph in Grenada, is also a founding member of SIY who hails from Gouyave.

“It is ironically interesting to note that Vincent Grant, McPhie and Lewis toured Europe in1981 with Spice Island Youthquake to raise funds for the launch of Hillsview Home for Aged,” said Fr. Hopkin. That initial tour, as well as others which followed, were completed under the management and direction of Fr. Oliver Leavy, Elsia Ferguson and Lauren Ramdhanny,” added Hopkin.

The Hillview Home for the Aged, which cares for 34 seniors from various parts of Grenada, was opened in 1982.

This ‘Making a Difference Initiative’ delivery of needed items, is the second charitable donation aimed at positively impacting the lives and living conditions of children, youths and seniors in Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique and the wider Caribbean. The inaugural donation of children’s diapers and feeding bags with tubes attached, was delivered to Grenada’s General Hospital in April of 2017.

“Future donations will generally address needs in healthcare and education, but would not be limited to these areas,” collectively say the community organizers behind the MDI.

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