SVP of Commercial Operations
Grace Foods USA
In preparing for a business trip to West Africa in 2007 I was informed that the best place to get my vaccinations done was at the Government Health Clinic on Slipe Pen Road in Kingston, before heading home to South Florida. It was another early morning in Jamaica, but with heavy traffic I had time to see a side of the capital city I had not seen in years.
Looking around me I realized that this old commercial area was also occupied by some families. Through the crevice of a zinc fence I could clearly see a little girl about 2 years old walking through a muddy yard. She gingerly took up seat on a boulder overlooking a pot placed on 3 stones. Someone, I assume to be her mother, was squatted over the pot preparing breakfast. The vision was in stark contrast to what my 2 year old daughter was doing for breakfast in comfort, in Florida. I resolved then to proactively find a way to make positive change in situations like what I was seeing.
Over the years, through The Grace and Staff Foundation, many of us made small contributions to the communities around our Grace Offices, factories and warehouses. These contributions are matched by Gracekennedy and have proven quite effective. However, what I felt was absent was the commitment of my own family to be an agent of change. We needed to connect through an organized program that addressed the issues of shelter, nutrition, clothing and health care among the needy in the wider community.
We often articulate a vision of what we would do if we had huge resources, but we don’t spend enough time thinking how we can help a few with the limited resources we may have. In 2007 I realized that we can do more today to help the less fortunate, rather than waiting on the grand vision. Food for the Poor became one of the primary channels for our monthly charitable contributions as a family. When these contributions are added to those made by others, they become transformational. With over 95% of what we donate going directly to the people we intend, it is an easy decision to use Food for the Poor to manage our giving.
Our charitable effort is one of the most uplifting aspects of our lives and I encourage everyone to plant their own “small mustard seed” and let it grow and help our community.