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A heart for kids

Deborah Gittens of Cancer Support Services (right) accepting on behalf of the organisation.

Deborah Gittens of Cancer Support Services (right) accepting on behalf of the organisation.

Children in Barbados with chronic non-communicable diseases and special needs are to get further assistance from corporate Barbados.

Leading the way is DaCosta Mannings Inc., which in partnership with Harris Paints, Berger Paints, Trowel Plastics and Serta Matresses and Divans, launched Shop For A Cause and a Million Miles For Smiles this morning at the DaCosta Manning Warrens, St. Michael retail store.

Executive Director for Retail at DaCosta Mannings, Paul Rowe noted that about 10 of the company’s employees had died from cancer-related diseases during the past decade, a sobering situation which has led the company to do much more to help organisations fighting the anti-cancer cause.

“I would say that in the last 10 years, we’ve had about between eight and 10 persons that passed away from cancer diseases; and cancer really knows no age, because the age range has been between 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s,” Rowe asserted.

“From this standpoint,” the executive director added, “this has been a driving factor in finding creative and alternative ways to raise funds for different causes.”

He said that Shop For A Cause would be an extension to his company’s normal process of offering assistance, and did not replace that level of aid to charities, but instead, would act as an enhancement.

The top management official suggested that the store had adopted the adage, ‘If you are willing to help yourself, then others are always more willing to help you’.

“We, too, have to adopt this process within our scope and utilise ways to raise funds. Our aim is to assist by providing a combination of service needs … material assistance and funding,” Rowe pointed out.

He identified areas such as medical, social, economical and spiritual renewal among others. Acknowledging that his company could not help everyone, he explained that DaCosta Mannings had decided to aid various charitable organisations that had been doing an “amazing” job in bringing public awareness to the individual cases.

Senior teacher Katherine Eastmond (centre) of The Ann Hill School receives a cheque from Paul Rowe and Grace Chambers of DaCosta Mannings.

Senior teacher Katherine Eastmond (centre) of The Ann Hill School receives a cheque from Paul Rowe and Grace Chambers of DaCosta Mannings.

The executive director said when people bought products from DaCosta Mannings’ strategic partners, part of the proceeds from those sales would go into a fund that would be disbursed to the respective charities.

“In a specific month, we will highlight the product that is under the banner of Shop For A Cause. The project is self-funded between DaCosta Manning and the vendor. So in essence, the customer purchases the same quality product, with the knowledge that the purchase of that product, some of the proceeds would go into the fund,” he stated.

Lowe told those attending the launch, that the intention was to run the project for one year, with internal reviews every quarter to determine what was or was not working.

“We believe the programme will grow, and the objective is to assist in educating and becoming proactive as opposed to being reactive.”

In explaining the Million Miles For Smiles aspect, Marketing Manager for DaCosta Mannings, Grace Chambers said this would constitute the active element. For example, Chamber said if an organisation was putting on a fun run to raise money for a charitable cause, they would receive assistance from the special programme.

“So whether it is that you swim, you walk, you hike, you jog, you kayak, whatever it is you do, we want that person commit to that activity, by committing to miles… You might commit to five miles in a month, you might commit to 10 miles in a month or 20 miles within a given period.”

However, the marketing manager urged that in committing to such activities, persons were also dedicating themselves to buying the miles to which they had committed.

She revealed that her company would start with four events in a given year under the Million Miles For Smiles. This morning, donations were given to three organisations – the Ann Hill School for special needs children, Cancer Support Services and the Precious Touch Foundation, which was dedicated to making children’s hopes come true. The school received $1,000 in cash, Cancer Support Services, $2,500 and the Foundation a laptop for a child. (EJ)

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