More than $4000 was donated this morning to three local groups working to improve the lives of residents on Montserrat.
Elizabeth Piper-Wade, the local representative of the John Sweeney Montserrat Fund presented checks to the Meals on Wheels Foundation, the Montserrat Red Cross and Fish ‘n Fins live on local radio station ZJB.
Since 2017, John Sweeney, a Montserratian based in Canada has been making financial contributions to local organisations through his non-profit to assist their work in the community.
Sharmen Thompson, the acting Head of Social Care for the Montserrat Red Cross accepted a contribution of $1000 which she said will go towards the annual Christmas day lunch. The funds will only be used for this purpose. She expressed appreciation for the donation which goes to an organisation that she is honoured to be a part of.
Violet Brown, Secretary for Meals on Wheels accepted a cheque of $2000, which she said will help the 54 people who they currently provide one nutritious meal a day. At Christmas time, Meals on Wheels teams up with the Montserrat Red Cross to ensure that people in need are able to enjoy a special dinner. Brown said in 2020, 62 were served a Christmas dinner.
Meals on Wheels receives a small subvention through the Ministry of Health and Social Services, however it is not sufficient to cover the operational costs and donations and the work of volunteers is essential to the groups ongoing success. Brown, used the opportunity on air to thank the volunteers who deliver the meals daily. She invited bakers to donate cakes, tarts and other sweet treats to this year’s Christmas and New Year’s Day meals.
Veta Wade, ocean activist and founder of Fish ‘n Fins was awarded $1000 from the foundation to support her work with the island’s children to encourage a love and knowledge of the ocean. An additional $295.70 was donated by Friends of Montserrat to assist with her ocean activism work.
Wade said it was a pleasant surprise to get the call that the fund wanted to learn more about her work with Fish ‘n Fins. She said since starting the non-profit in 2014, it has been a mission of love and sacrifice and she is blessed that the people continue to see the effort and are willing to support this drive to teach young people about the ocean. She added, that Fish ‘n Fins gives many of the island’s children their introduction to learning about the sea and the possibilities in the ocean economy. Some of the current Fish ‘n Finners participate in local turtle monitoring projects, are very capable snorkelers and are more than capable, she said of being ocean stewards.
Piper-Wade said she had conducted due diligence on the organisation before the fund agreed to make the donation. She added that Mr. Sweeney was very impressed with what Veta had created and it was very possible that they would be receiving additional financial support in the future.
The John Sweeney Montserrat Fund does not give financial support to commercial or government projects. In cases of great financial need, it may support a personal endeavour. Overall, the fund supports registered non-profit organisations on Montserrat doing meaningful work within the community.