Dec. 23, 2002 – Christmas came early for about three dozen St. John youngsters who gathered Monday at the Battery on St. John to receive gifts from the V.I. Freshwater Association, better known as the Freshwater Yankees.
The group is made up of Virgin Islanders now living in New York. Each December, the members send gifts for children who, for one reason or another, may be facing a bleak Christmas.
"Tell them I said thank you very much, and thank them for remembering St. John, because St. John is always left out," said Deverelle Alfred, who was on hand with most of her eight children.
Actually, St. John Administrator Julien Harley said, the Freshwater Yankees always intended St. John children to get gifts, but in years past the packages didn't make it to St. John from St. Thomas.
Corrine Mathias, an assistant to Harley, said she contacted the island's schools to find families who needed some help with the holidays. "We wanted to give them to kids who could use an extra gift," Harley said.
Matthias said the gifts included dolls, tea sets, blocks, games and more, all bought in New York, wrapped and shipped south by the Freshwater Yankees.
Arona Foy was there with most of her five nieces and nephews ages 1 to 15. She said that their mother, Marva Anthony, was in the hospital suffering from sickle-cell anemia. The family was scrambling to take care of the children and to make their Christmas a little brighter. "It just breaks my heart," Foy said.
He niece Kenisha Anthony, 12, was at a loss for words when asked how her Christmas would be.
Calvin Forbes was let go from his job as a security officer and, with money tight, had wondered how he'd make Christmas for his three children. He was thrilled at the Freshwater Yankees' generosity. And Forbes, a St. Thomas resident, also was delighted that he got the chance to spend the day with his St. John-based children.
No one from the Freshwater Yankees in New York could be reached for comment.
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