Very recently, the Prime Minister of St Lucia the Hon. Allen Chastanet announced cheque donations to more than a dozen charities operating in St Lucia. St Lucy’s Home was not included. The proceeds came from the Prime Minister’s Independence Ball. Indeed, St. Lucy’s Home was left behind!
I now want to ask the question, why was St Lucy’s Home not included in the charities that received cheques from the proceeds of the Prime Minister’s Independence Ball.? I would want to believe that that was an oversight!
The St Lucy’s Home was established on 13th December 1983 by Catholic Priest Monsignor Patrick Anthony.
The Vision of the Home is to become the most efficient, welcoming and functional Home Care Institution for “Street People” and the homeless of Saint Lucia.
Conscious of the dignity of the human person, the St Lucy’s Home endeavours to provide the basic human needs for street and homeless people at no cost to them, and without discrimination; provide supportive services which are professional, qualitative and transformative, and which will improve the residents quality of life; and enhance the spirituality of the residents, involvement and commitment by way of financial aid, donations in kind, and through moral support to the residents of the Home.
Some of the key objectives of management are to provide a home and shelter for those persons who are known to sleep on the streets; to give residents a sense of worth and belonging; to provide opportunities for the residents to be involved in activities which would boost their self-image and help them become more productive citizens; to promote a sense of togetherness and sharing within the home and wider community; to improve the public health standards by caring for the homeless and street people; and to raise community awareness to the needs and care of the poor and deprived in the society, and to emphasize the teaching: “We are our brother’s keeper.”
The St Lucy’s Home operates within an Organizational Structure inclusive of a Board of Directors, a management team, caregivers (staff), and the residents themselves.
In terms of the cost of operations, St Lucy’s Home needs approximately $300,000 to enable the Home to pay its staff, provide proper health care, proper nutritive foods, and activities to actively engage the residents.
Fortunately, St Lucy’s receives a quarterly subvention from the Government of St Lucia. This adds up to a $120,000 annually.
However the St Lucy’s Home has to find the other $180,000 annually – about $15,000 a month to run the Home successfully.
Thanks to some very supportive and committed corporate and private citizens, St Lucy’s has been able to receive donations in cash and kind to help us along the way. In addition, we have committed groups who feed the residents every Sunday, and in some cases, on holidays. Some of regular groups are: The Lions Club, the Goodwill Charity Group, Helena’s Group, the Babonneau Parish groups, and the Church of God Adventists. The Kiwanis Club of Castries takes the residents on a beach picnic every year and the residents enjoy themselves. We take this opportunity to say thank you to those groups.
We pay all our domestic bills such as salaries, utilities, visiting nurse fees and related commitments. Fortunately, the government of St Lucia provides a doctor to the Home on a regular basis. We also receive several health services without charges from the health institutions in the state. Now although we also receive some medication free of charge from the island’s hospital, we do not get the expensive medications. We have to buy those ourselves. For example, we recently filled in prescriptions for three residents at a local pharmacy at a cost to us of $337.58. Quite often we have to purchase medication for several residents.
Recognising the financial requirements of the Home, the Board of Directors through its Dinner Committee organises a Fundraising Dinner on the last Friday in November of every year. The activity takes place at the Mount of Prayer Coubaril and begins at 7:00 p.m. Several friends, donors, supporters and well-wishers have committed themselves to attending the dinner. As I write, I can visualize the seats where many of our patrons sit, because they sit exactly the same place every year. Well, because of privacy I will not call names!
The management team member responsible for activities engages the residents in physical activities and board games such as Ludo, Chess, Snakes & Ladders, Draught, Dominoes; and Arts and Craft.
The management team also has a number of fund-raising activities to be implemented, such as: A fundraising Barbecue the evening before Emancipation day; that is July 31st, 2019, starting at 7:30 p.m., and a Bingo Party on December 6, all in an effort to help ourselves at the Home.
We also organize activities to give the residents a sense of worth and belonging. The major ones are: Independence Anniversary Beach Picnic at the Pigeon Island National Landmark, Jazz at St Lucy’s, Creole Heritage Month and 13th December, St Lucy’s Feast and celebration.
We want to take the opportunity to thank the Director and staff of the St Lucia National Trust. We are well organized at the Saint Lucy’s Home to contribute meaningfully to our street and homeless people of St Lucia, and look forward to whatever assistance we can secure. No resident is left behind!