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J$10.6 Million Wheelchair Gift To Mustard Seed Community

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February 19, 2008 – Just like the story of Goldilocks & The Three Bears, a “just-right” fit is considered imperative for persons confined to wheelchairs, and nowhere is it more important than at the Mustard Seed Communities, where nearly 70 percent of its residents are bed-ridden and can only be moved about via wheelchairs.

International charity organisation, Food for the Poor, presented the Fr. Gregory Ramkissoon-led organisation with some 30 custom-fitted wheelchairs. The cost of the wheelchairs have been put at J$10.6 million.

Over the years, Food for the Poor has distributed thousands of wheelchairs across the island. “We just don’t merely give people wheelchairs, but we are always seeking ways to make the experience better by having those wheelchairs custom-fit for recipients,” said Susan Moore, Director of Medical Services, and FFPJ.

As a result, FFP has joined forces with US-based wheelchair specialist manufacturer, Metal Craft Industries, to appropriately provide wheelchairs that would eliminate or lessen problems associated with what is termed “Fixed Deformity.” According to research, some of the problems associated with fixed deformity and the non-provision of specialised wheelchairs, include pressure ulcers, skin tears, bruising, skeletal deformities, impaired respiration and digestion, contractures, discomfort, agitation, incontinence, social isolation, unsafe transfers, falls, and injuries to both residents and caregivers.

Specialist in the designing and manufacturing of specialised-wheelchairs, James Swineheart was instrumental in custom-fitting recipients to their respective wheelchairs. One of the problems these wheelchairs will eliminate is what is called Fixed Deformity, which is often due to the unavailability of chairs to properly fit the individual needs. So, if you have more people spending less time in beds it will not only eliminate this so-called Fixed Deformity, but it will also prevent social isolation and a number of problems associated with it.

Ms. Moore further believes that by providing these specialised-wheelchairs to residents at the Mustard Seed Communities it’s a move that will make life more comfortable, and in some cases bearable for “these defenseless and helpless” individuals, most of whom are children abandoned by their parents because of mental and physical deformities

FOOD FOR THE POOR: Food for the Poor Jamaica (FFPJ) ministers to spiritually renew impoverished people throughout Jamaica. Incorporated in 1983, a year after its parent organisation in Coconut Creek, Florida, its goal are to improve the health, economic, social and spiritual conditions of the men, women and children we serve. FFPJ follows the principle that education and self-help must fortify charity work so recipients learn to break the cycle of poverty. FFP supports programmes to teach recipients how to raise livestock, develop small businesses and provides agricultural assistance to independent farmers by distributing billion of dollars worth of food, medical, educational, building and small business supplies to its less fortunate brothers and sisters through the island. The organisation maintains a large network of churches, hospitals, orphanages, schools and feeding programmes. In addition to the feeding programmes, FFP provides housing – over 10,000 homes have been given to the destitute. FFP also provides medical assistance, water projects, educational aid, micro-enterprise programmes and emergency relief assistance.

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