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Give, and it will be given to you

by Lara Pickford-Gordon

The Catholic News reached out to people to hear the good news, the Good Samaritans, unexpected generosity, selfless acts. At first, these stories were difficult to come by. I wondered if bad news and negativity were so common that our eyes have dimmed to the good happenings; but good news is all around. It comes wrapped in different guises.

Pamela Hospedales of Freeport founded The Children’s Cradle for Christ, a non-profit organisation in Freeport, which she founded March 1987.
She has been helping the migrant communities in Freeport and Icacos and spreading the Word of God.
Hospedales is involved in Samaritans Purse, a US non-profit evangelical Christian organisation providing spiritual and physical aid worldwide since 1970. Samaritan’s Purse has a project called Operation Christmas Child (OCC) which distributes ‘shoeboxes’ filled with gifts.
Hospedales said OCC is not just focused on Christmas. “We use that project to reach out to children…I’m involved in that ministry for 18 years.”
Hospedales knows about being impoverished.  “We used to plant rice and sometimes we have rice and just the water to drink, to sustain [us] to go again. I know what it is like not to have food, I grow up like that. When I get something, I know how to carry it out there and give it to somebody, where they can get food to eat, to feel strong. I know what it is like not to have clothes.”
She became involved in migrant ministry after a friend told her about the Venezuelan adults and children who needed help. “My heart always into the giving, always cooking, feeding, for years, since at the age of 19, I was called into children’s ministry,” Hospedales said. She is a Sunday School teacher for 40 years and children always gravitated to her, sharing their problems.
No sooner had she started in November 2021 trying to help migrants when she contracted pneumonia in December. It weakened her so much “I could not hold a cup, a knife. I had no strength”.
By February 2022, her burning desire to resume helping migrants caused her to make a special appeal to God. “I say ‘God, I want Your strength, I want to go back out there’, and by March I started to learn to walk like a child again. My family would be asleep and all 12 a.m., 1 a.m. I would hold [something] and walk and trust God.”
In March, her daughter Joanna encouraged her to get out of bed and move about.  “I said ‘Jo, I can’t make it to stand up’ but she said ‘that’s  ok, mummy, let us go and look for the children’. When I went, seeing children, in my heart I gained that strength. It is a joy…”
Hospedales collaborates with the Living Water Community (LWC) collecting food and clothes to distribute. She said her NGO, LWC and Samaritan’s Purse, “combined to get more to the people, more to the mothers, the fathers”.
She is thankful also for donations from the public. It is a “beautiful” thing for her to see the children’s smiling faces when they receive gift boxes from OCC.
The mother of four adult children is ready to go once she hears of a need. “As they (migrants) ask I just go and drop, go and drop,” she said. Hospedales is energised by “the love, the enjoyment, the eyes of people, their faces when they get something, they are so happy.”

Helping with groceries

Michelle Douragh was in the grocery one day when she observed another customer removing items at the checkout counter which she could not purchase. “I just felt a tug, you know it’s like you hear a voice inside your head saying, ‘this person needs help’ and I always follow my guidance, I always say angels are talking to me,” Douragh said.
She tapped the woman’s hand and said, “I got you.” The surprised customer asked, “What you mean?” Douragh offered to pay for all the groceries telling her words to the effect “This is your day…the cashier rang it up and I paid for her groceries and asked her if she wanted anything else and she said, ‘that’s okay’”.
Douragh likened this encounter to “experiencing God in a different way, through that appreciation”. She always encouraged her two daughters to engage in “service”; she does not call it charity.
From four or five years old, she took them annually to the St James Infirmary to distribute items and chat with patients. “We will do that with a couple other homes,” she said.
Douragh added that helping people with their groceries was one way of service. “You have to love people for God and when people love me, I see God loving me through them.”
Accompanied by one of her daughters, it became a routine to purchase groceries for strangers. Her children were concerned maybe she would get negative reactions. Douragh said, “I would say, ‘Listen, you just have to trust’. I will get a vibe…I will walk up and down, and I will look to see who might need that assistance.” She then joined the queue but tried not to look “too obvious”.
Douragh recently had the opportunity to know what recipients felt like. She was overseas and needed allergy medication. There was a customer who was friendly so her daughter’s boyfriend asked if she would purchase for Douragh because a US Identification Card was required.
“She agreed and she comes to me and gives it to me and says ‘Don’t worry, I bought it for you’…I felt so humbled. Both my daughters were with me, and I said, ‘Now I know what it feels like’.”