There was a time – long ago, when I had only one pair of footwear. It was worn for School, Church and outing.

In this present age, and in our very community / neighborhood, some children are having the same experience.

Being a young adult, I make efforts to assist those children or families living in such a situation.

Volunteer Joyce-Elena Browne of Lockerbie College and Progressive Optimist Oein Josiah sorting stationery.
Volunteer Joyce-Elena Browne of Lockerbie College and Progressive Optimist Oein Josiah sorting stationery.

For the past few Saturdays, I have been meeting with fellow members of our club “Progressive Optimist Club of Barbados” for our annual “Back to School Drive” – project. By 11am I am usually tired because of Saturday’s morning training [Bike and run/swim], but that tiredness is overwhelmed by the inner feeling of love & humility. Yes – i can testify that there is a joy which comes when you do something that benefits those who are not that fortunate . In doubt? – try it sometime!

This project is one of the many projects our club does on a regular basics.

The local media [Loop] captured the activities of last Saturday’s[15.08.2015] atmosphere at the collection phase of the Back to School Drive. I quote

Free uniforms, school supplies for those in need

The Progressive Optimist Club is gearing up to distribute items following a successful ‘back to school’ drive for uniforms and school supplies.

Now in its second year, the initiative has seen individuals and corporate Barbados donating gently used or new school uniforms and other essentials such as stationery and toiletries. Some even gave cash so that the Club could purchase supplies.

Donations were made on July 25, August 8 and August 15 and when Loop News visited the drop-off location at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Progressive Optimist Club members and volunteers were busy sorting and packing the hundreds of items that had been received.

Vice President of the 40-member club, Richelle Lucas, told Loop News, “Our aim in this is to make sure we can give every child something to help make that transition back to school a little easier – those simple, basic things that children should not have to go without.”

She thanked Barbadians for their overwhelming support, including businesses such as CIBC FirstCaribbean, the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, Scotiabank, Laparkan, Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre and others whose staff organised collections, donated cash or gave support in some other form. She also was grateful for the help of other Optimist clubs on the island, who lent their support in this year’s initiative.

Lucas added, “We have some students who are doing their volunteer requirements and they’ve come out to help us and we’re very happy with that.”

One such student, Springer Memorial third-former Reanna McCollin, told Loop News that the community service is part of her Caribbean Certificate of Second Level Competence (CCSLC) requirements, and she was enjoying the experience. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun,” she said.

While some of the supplies have already been earmarked for families identified by the Club, other families in need are welcome to collect items on Saturday August 22 and August 29 at the high-rise carpark at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.