The elderly in Jamaica are amongst the most vulnerable in the country. Due to the dire financial situation of the government, seniors do not receive any government-funded social assistance or medical care. A visit to the doctor or dentist is often put off due to lack of funds; eating takes priority. Seniors are dependent on the generosity of others, through programs funded by foreign aid, charitable foundations, and from younger members of the community.
Although our group has limited funds, we try to do as much as possible to support the seniors living in the Riverton community. During each visit, we take a group of the elderly from the Riverton community on a field trip to the mineral springs and out for lunch at the botanical gardens. This is a very popular and well-attended event, one that community members rarely get to enjoy. This event requires funding for buses, food, and to pay the women who cook and distribute food at the picnic. Funds for the event are raised by the group.
Only half of the group fit in the picture at one time!
Seniors and SCB team and helpers at the Rockport Mineral Springs – a real treat!
ELDERLY FEEDING PROGRAM
When possible, we designate some of our funds raised through various events, to the seniors to be used in whatever way is needed. Recently, the seniors’ lunch program at Riverton was cut by the organization who had been supporting them for many years. This leaves the elderly in the community particularly vulnerable as there are no social services available to them. Students Crossing Borders has taken on the responsibility of providing funding each month when needed for the program to continue. For less than $500 per month, and through the stellar budgeting of Junior Rowe, we have been able to provide a hot meal, 3 times per week to 30 people, and to pay a local woman a nominal amount to prepare the meals. SCB alumnus, organizations, and groups are encouraged to take on the responsibility of raising funds for the program one month per year. Please contact us if you are up to the challenge.
Nurse Kim with food packages for the elderly
We have many programs planned for seniors on upcoming trips. We are planning an intergenerational Memory Bank project between youth and seniors that explores the lives and culture of the seniors in Riverton. Additionally, we are hoping to use the youth to get the seniors “wired” to the internet so they can connect with their family who live abroad.