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COMPASSION DURING A TIME OF CONFUSION
The work that FEEL does reaches countless of citizens during times of crisis, whether it be personal or during times of national disasters.
Here we speak with just two of the thousands of people, who have received help from FEEL and learn why they say they will forever re-main thankful to the organisation.
On July 8th, 2017, tragedy struck for the Pierre family who lived at Simeon Road, Petit Valley. Their home of 20 years burned to the ground.
Sitting with Guardian Media, Siobhan Pierre recalled details of the tragic experience that de-stroyed all the possessions of the family of 6.
“Is a lot of memories, you know you could get back furniture and all these things but every time I think about their baby pictures, things they made for me as chil-dren. These things you know, it real real hard, real hard.
”She said her 18-year-old son was at home withhis two young-er brothers at the time and she is grateful they were not harmed.
After the fire, she received let-ters from the fire department to take to different agencies to get assistance, one was addressed to FEEL, an organisation she never heard of before.
Mrs Pierre said she visited FEEL and filled out the relevant forms and mere days later she received a call informing her to come to the warehouse with a pickup truck. When she arrived it was nothing like she expected.
“I was really blown away. I re-ceived a dining set, I was like what, brand new! Other stuff, household items and things and they had like bookbags, crayons, all sort of things for the house, even the mops that advertising now that I won’t have to wring by hand and I was like what! But all in all it was just the efficiency of it. It didn’t take long, I think was just like three days after
.”She said her family is still await-ing help from other organisations, including those run by the gov-ernment.
Now as she and her family are trying to put the pieces of their lives back together, they are rent-ing an apartment until they can rebuild.
She said it has been and will continue to be an uphill battle but it’s one that FEEL has made just a little bit easier.
Much like Siobhan Pierre, Noel Timothy has a similar story about how the compassion and care of-fered by FEEL, helped ease the pain during a tragic time.
Just over a year ago Mr Timo-thy learned that his 16 year-old daughter Nyankia had Cancer. After his daughter complained of severe pain in her leg, the dreadful diagnosis was made. It shook the single father of two and turned his family upside down. Due to the constant trips to the doctor and the hospital, the head of the Mar-aval family was forced to quit to his job in order to properly care for his ailing daughter and his other child.
“We spent months in the hos-pital. While there Nyankia’s leg could not be saved and it was am-putated. I was told by the doctors that I would have to get a wheel-chair for my daughter to move around. I didn’t know where to turn. Someone at the hospital told me about FEEL and said they could help. So I went in to FEEL
”Mr Timothy said within a week of approaching FEEL for a wheel-chair, his daughter Nyankia was given one. First they gave us a chair to use temporarily because they had to build a special chair for her. In about a week they called and asked us to come in for the special chair, “They took back the first chair and gave my daugh-ter another one and made sure she was comfortable and able to move around in it”, said Mr Timothy.
He said he’s been to many insti-tutions and agencies, with prom-ises of help since his daughter lost her leg. To date, only FEEL has offered speedy assistance. With regards to the other organisations, Mr Timothy is still waiting.
“The quickest assistance I got was from FEEL. They show com-passion and understanding. I wish everyone else could be like that”, said Mr Timothy.
FEEL responds to disaster
FEELs responsiveness extends beyond individuals to the wider national community. FEEL main-tains a stock of disaster supplies that includes blankets and food-stuff so that they can provide im-mediate relief response. When we visited the FEEL warehouse we found palettes loaded with these supplies. According to Elena Vil-lafana-Sylvester, CEO at FEEL, it is the ongoing support from major donors such as Fernandes Busi-ness Centre, Food for the Poor Inc. and United Way Trinidad and Tobago that allows FEEL to plan ahead of a disaster. This allows FEEL to respond immediately to calls for help when flooding hits Trinidad and Tobago for instance or any of our Caricom neighbours are affected. She notes that FEEL implements its plans for the hur-ricane season as early as June each year and pre-stocks its Civil So-ciety partners with items should there be a disaster.