There was plenty to eat and drink, and the sound of oldies filled the air, setting a euphoric atmosphere at the Banks DIH Thirst Park Meeting Hall Sunday afternoon. The event was the annual senior citizens luncheon for the elderly organised by Ms Bernice Mansell of the Bernice Mansell Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation.
According to Ms Mansell, although the annual luncheon is usually held either in the month of July or December, this year it was designed to coincide with the observance of the Month of the Elderly, which is commemorated in October.
Hosting the senior citizens has become a calendar event hosted by the Bernice Mansell Foundation, and Ms Mansell noted Sunday that “it is of utmost importance to recognise the elderly for the contributions that they have made over the years to nation building.”
Under the theme “Working for the Elderly, Celebrating their contributions to Guyana”, the Ministry of Labour, Human Services and Social Security had kicked off the observance of the month of the elderly at a ceremony at the Palms, a Senior Citizens Home.
Some 200 elderly persons were in attendance Sunday and there was no denying that they had a fun-filled time. They came from various organisations, clubs, homesteads, church groups and some individuals came on their own. In addition to indulging in a grand feast, the elders were also involved in exciting activities including dancing and singing competitions. And they were duly rewarded, for their efforts with gifts which came compliments of the Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, according to Ms Mansell.
The Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has been continually lending support to the efforts of the Foundation. It was just a few months ago that the Foundation was endowed with more than $1.6M of items from the Church.
The massive endowment, according to Mr Dillon Murray, Member of Georgetown, Guyana District Presidency of the humanitarian-driven Church network, was made possible through the voluntary donation of members of the Church who have over the years freely given towards such humanitarian ventures.
“This means a lot to us right now. It means that we will be able to extend help to other places,” a grateful Mansell had noted. She gleefully recounted how a request for two wheelchairs catapulted to an endowment which will bring much relieve to a wide cross section of people in the society.
“I made a request for two wheelchairs and they said they will come in and see me. They did come in and they found out all about the work we are doing and they decided that they need to help more…”
According to Mansell, she has for the past 40 years been rendering assistance in various forms to the needy, a move which spiralled from her involvement in the Radio’s Needy Children Fund to her operation of a special school for school dropouts. The Foundation has branches in Wakenaam, Essequibo, Parika Outfall and on the Linden/Soesdyke Highway.
“They came in and saw the need and I showed them my record and the work we are doing and they decided that they will send me a container and here I am today giving thanks and gratitude to them for their kindness to us and to God for putting it in their heart to help us.”
The endowment, Mansell said, will be extended to other areas around the country including Lethem, West Demerara, Linden/Soesdyke Highway, New Amsterdam, Wakenaam, Parika Outfalls and many other organisations that assist children, the sick, the lame and shut-ins will be assisted as well.
And according to Mansell other activities are planned for later this year which will help the needy in society. Each of the senior citizens in attendance Sunday was presented with a special gift at the end of the event.
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