By Kaelanne Jordan in Tobago
The Sacred Heart RC parish in Delaford distributed 20 tokens of appreciation to married couples and 30 to the elderly and shut-ins on the feast of Ss Anne and Joachim, July 26. The recipients comprised parishioners from the four community areas of Delaford, Roxborough, Goodwood and Speyside.
Speaking to Catholic News via phone, Yvette Phillip, co-administrator for the parish mentioned that a unique scripture passage was engraved on the respective tokens: Ephesians 5: 25, “Husbands love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
Among the 20 married couples included the longest married couple—Harold and Pamela Stewart from Belle Garden, married for 39 years. Meanwhile, 99-year-old Veronica Sergeant from Goodwood was recognised as the eldest in the communities.
According to Phillip, the distribution was a surprise to the recipients. With the closure of churches due to the ongoing pandemic, parishioners were unable to gather at church for the celebration. Church members, however, collectively created a list of names and were each assigned to deliver at their homes.
“They were very, very happy. They were thankful. Some called and they said ‘thanks’,” Phillip said. The Sacred Heart parish is among the many parishes across the Archdiocese assisting those most in need due to the fallout from the pandemic.
Phillip shared that distribution of foodstuff commenced monthly last year but only resumed last July. She highlighted that the parish has been catering to communities in Delaford, Speyside, Charlotteville, Roxborough, Goodwood, Pembroke, Argyle, Betsy’s Hope, Belle Garden and Louis Dor. “In between them, we had some migrants in Charlotteville who were also given foodstuff,” Phillip added.
Foodstuff, she indicated, was critical as many persons are now unemployed. “CEPEP [Community-based Environmental Protection and Enhancement Programme] has just opened back so some people went out to work. Some of them were at home. And some, again, they went back out to work but not working on a daily basis, two days in and two days out,” she explained.
Phillip acknowledged that while Tobago is a “family-knitted community” and “they really look for each other”, the needs were tremendous.
“We had regular families coming in every month, different families coming in, families complained not having anything for a long time, and persons seeking out families to ensure everybody got.”
This year, the parish collaborated with two supermarkets, Penny Savers and AKM Supermarket Limited, Delaford.
She recalled, on average, 500 hampers were distributed per month last year. For July, there were 450. “We brought all the foodstuff to Delaford RC and then we took it community by community. We asked people to come, and they collected…We had a day for each community,” Phillip said.
She also identified that because of the closeness of the community, “People may not come forward, but there are parishioners who know them and that’s how we get to the people.”
Because of this, Phillip shared that the parish is in the process of initiating a “reach-out to a family” outreach whereby families will “look out” for one another’s needs whether it be in prayers or donations.
Asked if the parish has been asked for assistance in other areas, Phillip asserted while there has been no special request thus far, “if they do, we will go all out to see where we can help.”