Hundreds of residents lined up outside the rear entrance at the Salvation Army’s St. John’s Citadel location on Church Street Monday for the annual Christmas package registration.
“We’re so grateful for the package, because some of us not working nowhere,” said one recipient and resident Roma Mersant.
“But, as big people, big people carry on like dem a children… the noise this kinda thing… I can’t cope with the noise,” said Mersant of the confusion outside the citadel as some of the would-be patrons showed their impatience.
Another resident lamented that, “this is the first time I’ve been here and have the line so long.”
Organiser and Commanding Officer at the citadel, Major Nana Agyemang confronted the issue, however, by saying that, “there’s always that point when we are not able to give to who desire and that is why we often appeal to the public to give as much as they can.”
The registration process, which concludes on Wednesday of this week, will then afford all registered parties to receive their food parcels on December 21-22.
“The parcel usually contains over ten basic food items,” explained Major Agyemang.
“They do contain what would be a good meal for a family and maybe beyond for a couple days.”
Given the special needs and attention to the displaced people of Barbuda, the major sought to extend a special appeal to the Barbudans this year.
“We are reaching out to our brothers and sisters in Barbuda also and they are going to be beneficiaries of this programme.”
The programme seeks to service 800 people in Antigua and Barbuda. Each package costs a total of $100, making the total price tag for the programme $80,000.
In addition to the 800 people directly receiving packages, the effort will seek to provide meals for Her Majesty’s Prison, Boys Training School, the Fines Institute and the Mount St. John Medical Center and, “many of the homes for the elderly,” explained Major Agyemang.
The Christmas parcel effort is funded though the kind contributions of corporate citizens, the Christmas Kettle Appeal, and specially by the Governor General Sir Rodney Williams and his wife Lady Sandra Williams.
Despite the challenges, however, residents waiting in line still showed appreciation fort he effort by the church and the volunteers.
“For the past four years I’ve been collecting for my nephew who is disabled,” said one resident.
“He looks forward to it every Christmas and that’s why I’m here.”