More than 100 homeless people on St. Croix were able to enjoy a free hot holiday meal Monday thanks to the Rotary Club of St. Croix, which provided the lunches at Market Square in Christiansted.
According to Rotarian David Beck, the free event has been an annual gathering for at least the last five years, and always occurs on Dec. 26, providing a day of relief for other non-profits that feed the homeless throughout the year.
“We just want to make sure the homeless are being served with a warm meal,” Rotary of St. Croix President Ava Gail Bourdon said.
The free meal consisted of salad, chicken, rice and beans. Roast pork was also served and was donated by the Bureau of Corrections. Water and juice were also provided with a holiday treat of cookies or candy.
“The homeless don’t have anyone to feed them during the holidays and so we just felt like it was our duty,” Rotarian Sandra Phaire said.
John, who preferred his last name not be used, said he loved getting the free meal, and it was something he looked forward to throughout the year. Wearing a pair of holey jeans and shoes that needed mending, John’s eyes sparkled as he walked through the meal line.
“Merry Christmas,” he said to each Rotarian, as they gave him a plate of food, cookie, and drink.
When asked if he was homeless, John told the Source reporter that he had shelter and hadn’t been homeless since the last time he did drugs – five years and 26 days ago. Jan. 1, John will celebrate his sixth year of sobriety.
“I look forward to the hot meals, and go to the Lighthouse Mission every morning for breakfast – Just ’cause I ain’t homeless don’t mean I don’t need to eat,” John said, flashing a toothy grin.
The Rotarians always make enough to feed at least 100 people and the rest is donated to Bethlehem House Shelter. According to Bourdon, the owner of Zeny’s Restaurant, Zenaida Jarvis, also donates her time and cooks all of the free meals.
For more information on the Rotary Club of St. Croix, please contact Phaire at email@example.com, call her at 340-643-9888, or visit the website at http://www.clubrunner.ca/CPrg/home/homeC.asp?cid=1573.