Helping out during the holidays

Between the unwrapping of Christmas gifts and popping of New Year’s champagne bottles, let’s take a moment to recognize some of the good works being done this holiday season by Cayman Islands residents.

These displays of “CaymanKindness” are being demonstrated by people across the country, in all sectors – private, public and nonprofit. Here are just a few examples that have recently appeared within the pages of the Cayman Compass.

On the front of yesterday’s paper, we carried the news that a now-empty lot on West Bay Road, next to Coconut Joe’s restaurant, is the future site for Cayman HospiceCare. That charity, of course, is in the business of doing good year-round by providing end-of-life care to terminally ill people in Cayman.

The land for HospiceCare’s new facility is being donated by the Dart Group, while the money for the construction of the building itself was gathered from the broader community, most notably by Cayman’s “Marathon Man” Derek Haines, who raised $1.35 million for HospiceCare by running a series of six marathons in 2014.

Dart also appeared in yesterday’s paper for a separate contribution, this one a gift of two Land Rovers to Cayman’s volunteer Special Constabulary, to be used primarily for traffic enforcement and road safety initiatives.

In the same issue, we published news that Acts of Random Kindness has assisted hundreds of families by providing food vouchers in its annual “Giving is Receiving” campaign, which enables people to eat well at Christmas when they otherwise might have gone hungry. Meanwhile, Rotaract Blue got into the holiday spirit by distributing vouchers to assist Cayman students with the purchase of new pairs of shoes, in its “Put your Best Foot Forward” initiative.

Last week we ran a story about the Immigration Department’s efforts to spread Christmas joy by collecting toys and books to be given to children who had to spend the holiday inside the Cayman Islands Hospital’s pediatric ward. We’ve also written about staff at the Ministry of Community Affairs, Youth and Sports delivering gifts and singing carols to residents of the Family Resource Centre, Pines Retirement, Golden Age and Bonaventure Boys Homes, as part of the ministry’s “Give Back to the Community” initiative.

About 700 people signed up to participate in the government’s Community Enhancement Project, which provides one-to-three weeks of paid work to Caymanians looking to earn cash, raise their spirits or develop job skills around Christmas time. While we do not necessarily agree with the government’s strategy, and have questions about any long-term benefits of the Christmas cleanup, there is no denying that in the short term, the hundreds of people participating in the program sincerely appreciate the opportunity being provided.

The above, of course, is just a very small sample of the charitable efforts on display in the Cayman community during the holidays. Our first instinct is to express regrets that we do not have the space to include more than a handful of the good deeds being performed in our country. Our second thought, however, is that we cannot feel sorry about there being so very many worthy organizations and individuals in Cayman that merit recognition for their attempts to spread joy in the community.

Although it is impossible for us to list each of them by name, we express our gratitude and appreciation for their efforts collectively. Thank you, and keep up the good work.