As the residents eagerly filed onto the compound at the Riverton Meadows Early Childhood Centre, the overcast skies contradicted the buzz of excitement and the lively chatter on the ground. Representatives from the Jamaica Red Cross and the Ignite IGL Foundation were busy preparing to combat the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the elderly, those living with disabilities, and low-income earners, by delivering grocery packages with essential staples.
With masks on, observing the social distancing protocols, the team seamlessly replicated a task they had been executing for several days across the island, moving house to house to ensure resources got to those who were shut in. By the end of the donations, the volunteers would have delivered packages to 450 families, valued at over JM $600,000 to nine parishes – Kingston & St. Andrew, St. Catherine, Portland, Westmoreland, St. James, St. Elizabeth, St. Mary and St. Ann – and 11 communities in which IGL operates.
In Riverton Meadows, each resident stepped up to collect a package, nodding in approval and heaping praises on the team led by Peter Graham, Managing Director, IGL, and Junior Rowe, Principal of Riverton Meadows Early Childhood Centre.
Rowe who has been living and working in the Riverton Meadows community for over 40 years expressed gratitude that the Ignite IGL Foundation had included the residents in their COVID-19 outreach. “The IGL donation came in the nick of time and has touched the lives of those who needed it most. It’s been challenging for residents to pivot during the pandemic, but they continue to show how resilient they are in the face of adversity. With these grocery items, we know for sure they have food on their tables for a few more days.” he said.
Graham noted that the community outreach is the second phase of COVID-19 strategy response being implemented by IGL. Several weeks earlier, the company had rolled out its first phase internally by encouraging and supporting staff members who can work remotely; by providing job security to all staff members; providing PPE – including ordering and delivering 1000 masks throughout their dealer network; and by updating and educating staff on suitable COVID-19 practices.
He pointed out that the IGL brand is an integral part of Jamaican life and whether it is fuel for cooking, locally produced oxygen that is used in the delivery of medical care, or carbon dioxide used in the production of beverages, IGL’s customers span the length and breadth of the country and the company celebrates their successes, and shares in their challenges when they do arise.
“COVID-19 has tested the resilience of our people and many face extraordinary challenges on a daily basis,” Graham said. “The IGL team has readily stepped up to support our fellow Jamaicans over the last week and a half, and has offered hundreds of care packages to those most in need. We fully support the ongoing efforts to contain the spread of the virus and urge everyone to follow all the guidelines provided by the health professionals.”
Kevin Douglas, Disaster Risk Management Specialist at Jamaica Red Cross, said the organization is excited about the partnership with IGL as it presents an opportunity to reach additional persons in areas which may be under-served. “While the Jamaica Red Cross has been intensifying its efforts to reach the most vulnerable across Jamaica, it is partnerships like these that help us to widen our reach and ensure that as many people as possible get assistance. We therefore commend IGL for this venture and encourage other corporate entities to undertake similar initiatives as we are all in this together,” he said.