Nassau, Bahamas – Hundreds of people gathered underneath cool tents outside the Salvation Army’s Headquarters on Mackey Street on Thursday to share in an afternoon of fellowship, holiday festivities, and a hearty Christmas meal.
The Salvation’s Army’s Annual Christmas Luncheon on December 20 catered to approximately 600 people, mainly senior citizens, as part of the organization’s Christmas Cheer Program, an extension of their year-round Feeding Program. CIBC FirstCaribbean bank staff, led by Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen, helped serve the lunch and also to pack some of the 750 Salvation Army food bags for attendees to take home and for delivery to other charitable organizations and those unable to attend.
During the event the bank also made a cheque presentation to the Salvation Army. “CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank is honoured to have been able to volunteer in the Salvation Army’s Christmas grocery packing initiative and Christmas luncheon. The Salvation Army of The Bahamas does a wonderful job caring for the disadvantaged in our communities throughout the entire year and we are pleased to partner with them to help make a difference in the lives of many,” Mrs. Rodland-Allen said.
Melanese Coakley, Salvation Army Community Relations & Development Associate, said, “It’s appropriate for the Salvation Army to do this – community care is what we do, and what better time than Christmas for a hot meal in a festive setting where people can come together, enjoy entertainment, and go home with a bag of food to put in the cupboard?”
She added, “There is a registration process and we serve seniors first and foremost because we realize they are most challenged this time of the year. Statistically, many of them are on a set income and are still responsible for households with children and grandchildren. What we’ve found is that seniors are the nucleus of the family; therefore we start with them and their households and it impacts the larger community.”
The Royal Bahamas Police Force Band played traditional season favourites and gave a rendition of “The Christmas Story.” Caribbean Bottling provided water and sodas. Minister of Social Services the Honourable Frankie Campbell, who was in attendance, said he was happy to see CIBC FirstCaribbean participating in community relief efforts, and that there was a sense of gratitude from the senior citizens.