Twice per week, some 13 children in the Mountain View community can be sure of a warm meal, a number that is expected to increase as time goes by.
Oscar Nelson who was born in Mountain View, Kingston Jamaica, is determined that he has to make a change in that community even if just a little at a time.
Nelson, 41, who resides in Calgary, Alberta Canada, started the feeding program in June this year with the hope of growing it to include as many needy children and senior citizens as possible.
“At the end of the day the struggle is there, and the struggle is real,” he told BUZZ. “And this is something I have always wanted to do, so I decided that it was time to execute it.”
Nelson, who goes back to visit his community once or twice per year says each time he returns he is visited by parents needing help towards food or to send their children to school.
“There are always people in the situation genuinely needing some form of assistance,” he said.
He explained that the desire to help his community has always been a part of his goal. As a result in 2014, he started the construction of a community centre that would have a feeding program as part of the amenities offered. That project came to a pause as a result of lack of revenue since it was being constructed out of his own pocket and with the help of a friend Pete Nunes. However, despite not being able to complete the centre he felt the need to forge ahead with the feeding program in the meantime.
He says along with the help of family members and community members he was able to identify 13 people in need so far. These names are on a list at Deante Yaad Style kitchen, a restaurant in Mountain View Avenue where these persons would go Mondays and Wednesdays at lunchtime to collect their meals.
“Right now we are just able to do lunch. But the goal is to do both breakfast and lunch.”— Oscar Nelson
He explained that donations towards the feeding programme come from individuals at Cargill Foods in High River, Canada where he works as a production supervisor.
“It’s not the company itself that makes the contribution but individuals that I work with. Even though I would love to have the company involved. But some of my coworkers have generously committed to contributing what they can on a monthly basis.”
“There are always people in the situation genuinely needing some form of assistance.”— Oscar Nelson
At the end of the month, based on the contributions collected, he is able to pool in $700 Canadian, approximately J$60,000 into the programme to feed the kids and elderly.
Nelson’s hope is that more persons both locally and overseas will see the need to be a part of the feeding program and come onboard.
“My goal is five days per week, every week for the month,” he explained. “But right now the number we can cater to is based on the dollar figure that we have to work with. The aim is to feed people both inside and outside of the community,” he said. “Right now we are just able to do lunch. But the goal is to do both breakfast and lunch.”
He said that because it is summer and schools are out the lunch program works well. However, come September when schools resume if he is still not able to do both breakfast and lunch he will allow the parents to decide what meal they would prefer to have their child collect.
“My goal is five days per week, every week for the month”— Oscar Nelson
His long term goal, however, is to finish the community centre which will serve as a homework centre for children and young adults in the community and the place where the feeding program is based. He notes that many times children are not able to focus at home due to events that may be occurring in the area and the centre would act as a solace and a place to focus.
The centre would be equipped with internet access to help with writing and sending out resumes. He says while he intends to see the centre comes to life he is not sure when, as it does take money for the construction. The construction has started at 114 Mountain View Avenue in Kingston.
Story written by Donna Hussey-Stewart