Charity to help residents in need
In a bid to help families hard hit by unemployment, the Rose Bell Missionary Society will cater another full meal to 100 residents in need of support.
The dinner, to be held at St Paul Centennial Hall at 6pm on Monday, marks the first in a series of similar events planned for this year.
It will also be the third dinner hosted by the Society for Bermuda’s unemployed residents struggling to make ends meet since the first dinner held last year.
Society President Madree Lindsay and secretary Lois Weeks contend there has been little in the form of economic relief for families struggling during the past year.
Said Ms Lindsay: “Things have gotten tighter, its serious and its sad. Economic hardship due to unemployment in Bermuda has definitely increased.
“People I know personally have lost their homes and I just find it so hard to accept. Their mortgage payments must have been very high but I still can’t see why the banks could not work something out with them.
“I know it's a money thing and the bank needs their money at some point, but if someone is placed out of a job all of a sudden its really sad to see them lose their home.
“These are people who are used to bringing in a salary and paying their bills who find themselves out of work with the bills still there,” said Ms Lindsay.
“And I know that we as a people must do all we can to reach out and help those in need as much as we possibly can.
“We’re trying to help in a very small way by offering a hot meal with fellowship, upliftment and hope. We want to encourage people who are struggling and assure them that they are not alone.”
Both women noted as well that the impact of the current economic climate is more than evident in church collection plates as well.
“The offerings have decreased during the past year and its troubling because the church has an enormous mortgage to pay off as well,” said Ms Weeks.
“Some members have a monthly toss up between paying their mortgage, and buying groceries or medicine. Quite often they leave off the medicine to have enough money to keep a roof over their heads.
“One woman told me there’s no money left to buy her medicine and sometimes her food after her rent is paid and that’s a shame because she also needs her medicine to survive and its sad.
“We know that charity begins at home and in these hard times we also know its important to take care of home first. But there’s also a lot of homes and family members hard hit by this recession.”
Ms Weeks, 87, is the mother of Progressive Labour Party MP Michael Weeks, also spoke of the Christmas Day tragedy her family was forced to bear.
Her grandson Malik succumbed to injuries sustained in a fatal road crash to become a road traffic fatality victim after leaving her house on Christmas night.
“It rocked my world and I will never forget it, but I have my hand in God’s hand and I know he has never failed so I’m keeping my faith in him.
“Malik was the last one to leave my house that night, his death was a real blow to the family, especially on Christmas Day. The last words he said to me was ‘I love you’.
“I said I love you too and took his face in my hands and asked him to take care of himself. He said he would do that for me.
“Malik was my son Mike’s first child, he was the first grandchild born in the Weeks family. I don’t think Christmas will ever be the same for me or any family member ever again,” she said.
“I used to look forward to that time of year because of my birthday on December 21. This time we suffered a devastating blow on Christmas Day, a loss I don’t think any of us will ever forget.
“But I still want to say to young people especially to put your faith in God especially at times when you feel you just can’t go on. At 87, I’m living proof that you can go on, its up to each and every one of us to be a source of support to hold each other up because life goes on.”
Said Ms Weeks: “I keep busy, right after this interview, I’m off to finalise plans for the Orchid Club’s tag day on Friday, and on Monday I’ll be there with the rest of our members to help serve up hot meals.”
Still wearing the pictures of Malik handed out at his funeral on her chest she said: “You have to be real busy to keep up with me and I’m keeping Malik’s photos close to my heart where he will always be.”
Both women also extended a special open invitation to unemployed parents to bring their whole family out on Monday night. They’ll offer uplifting encouragement over a hot meal to let them know they are not struggling with economic hardship alone.