Healthcare workers on the front lines of fighting the COVID-19 pandemic are widely considered heroes, and we can all see why. In a disorienting experience like a pandemic, it is reassuring to talk of heroes. We can picture the health care workers on the battlefield despite the danger, getting the job done without sufficient personal protective equipment and paying no heed to the possible or actual injury. Still, even heroes or frontline workers need assistance. Charging ahead to the rescue of the frontline workers at the Spanish Town, Black River, and Port Maria Hospital is the Always Caring and Sharing (ACS) Initiative.
The Central Jamaica Conference's Adventist Community Services team collaborated with Mr Jeremiah Campbell from Laparkan Shipping in Orlando, FL, USA and Food for the Poor to donate over 1.5 million dollars worth of equipment and items. These included fifty (50) new hospital beds, wheelchairs, walkers, adult diapers, masks, and other items. Over the years, the Always Caring and Sharing initiative consisting of Seventh-day Adventist Church members, overseas donors, and local contributors has been the community's unsung heroes. The fact is that one person can have a limited impact. Nevertheless, with a few people working together, the impact is limitless.
Acting Board Chairman of the Spanish Town Hospital, Mr Omar Francis, in expressing his gratitude for donations received, remarked, "It is partnerships in healthcare that make the real difference. When we see agencies and organizations coming together to donate, we can say that healthcare in Jamaica is at its best because we have people who continue to care and contribute". At the Port Maria Hospital, Chief Executive Officer, Mrs Lorraine Brown-Wright, echoed the sentiments of joy and relief.
There is a genuine danger that if only the frontline healthcare workers are heroes, others will not have to act heroically. Thankfully, Food for the Poor and the Central Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Community Services Department, led by Pastor Everett Smith, did not watch the battles of the healthcare system from the sidelines but instead decided to join the fight. Human Resources Manager at Food for the Poor, Ms Lisa Belnavis, adding that "Food for the Poor will not only continue to join hearts but also hands to relief efforts like these".
The key contributor to the ACS initiative is Mr Jeremiah Campbell. As a radio personality of WAVS 1170AM/107.9FM, Jeremiah Campbell has been instrumental in using that platform to appeal to the South Florida community by eliciting donations and support from listeners, entertainers, business owners, politicians, and many others. Additionally, from Jamaica, contributions were received from the Jamaica Biscuit Company, Confectionery and Snacks, and C.B. Chicken.
All of us shape and reshape the healthcare sector every day. We make choices, and those choices have power. We can either stay on the sidelines and watch the healthcare sector take on their mantle as frontline workers/heroes, or we can lend a hand to lighten the load they carry. After all, many hands make work light. Most assuredly, the ACS Team will continue lending a hand to champion the cause of Christ in the community.