Help has been pouring in for Marcus Gibbs, also known as “Balloon Man,”
and his family since Sunday Newsday reported the family’s dire situation.
Gibbs, the father of four, from Petit Bourg, has sold balloons for the past four years. Since the covid19 restrictions were put in place, he has been unable to earn a living.
He told Newsday on Monday, “I got about 90 calls – I even got calls from people in other countries – and I just want to say thanks to everyone and Newsday.”Due to the overwhelming support and attention the family has since received, he said he had decided to accept only what they need.
“I can’t be greedy. Even though people bringing plenty of food, I'll just take what I need, because there are other people who may need food also.
"When people offer me things I have, I will not take it. I have been getting so much help. I'll let them know what I got already.”He said people within the family's community have also offered help.A religious leader has offered the family temporary accommodation.Gibbs said, "The reason I come to the public crying out for help wasn’t that I wanted to stock up on food."
When he spoke with Newsday last Thursday, he pleaded with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development to speed up the application process for a new home.He said the family had found refuge in an old, abandoned house with no lights or water. They have lived there for five years, but with the added stress of covid19, he fears he can’t provide for his family or make any repairs to the deteriorating structure. When the Government amended the Public Health Ordinance – limiting the number of people who may gather in public spaces, closing all bars and restaurants and asking nonessential workers to remain at home – he lost his only source of income.
Gibbssaid a religious leader in the area had offered to provide a more decent living space for three months, and he expects to be given more details on Wednesday. St Joseph MP Terrence Deyalsingh also contacted him to discuss accommodation. After the three months is over, other arrangements will be made. Gibbs hopes his plea has brought his family closer to having a new HDC home. He is hopeful when the covid19 restrictions are lifted he will be able to resume selling his balloons and also have a new home.