Western Parks and Market (WPM) Waste Management Limited has assisted 75 retirees of the agency in western Jamaica by providing care packages to help them cope during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Speaking with JIS News, Regional Operations Manager, Garnet Edmondson, said that WPM’s management team donated a portion of their April salaries to undertake the initiative, which amounted to some $200,000.

“We decided that we wouldn’t seek any assistance from anybody, because we recognise at this time that almost everybody is feeling a little pinch from the COVID-19,” he said.

The Regional Operations Manager noted that the packages, which were distributed over a one-week period starting Monday, May 4, contained basic food items, such as rice, flour, sugar and toiletries.

“We recognised that there were some retirees whose salaries weren’t very impressive when they were working. We know what is happening in the economy now with the layoffs and the hotels being closed, and a large number of these retired persons depend on family members. That within itself would present a struggle for them, so we wanted to let them know that they have another family here – the WPM family,” he said.

Mr. Edmondson informed that the initiative targeted “our more aged retired staff”, who served as street sweepers, sidemen as well as office workers, noting that these individuals gave years of dedicated service to waste management in communities in western Jamaica.

“I visited one in Trelawny, and he was very happy to see us. I visited another in Westmoreland, who was also very happy to see us,” he said.

Mr. Edmondson described the gesture as the agency’s continued commitment to assisting the most vulnerable to weather the COVID-19 pandemic.

“At this time, we want them to feel safe and to not panic, as our tag line that we are using now is ‘Stay strong don’t panic’. So, we want to say that to them by way of these gifts. Stay strong, don’t panic, things will return to normal sometime soon,” he added.

WPM Waste Management Limited serves the parishes of Westmoreland, Hanover, St. James and Trelawny.