Pre-school teacher Kathsha James is seeking contributions from the public to help 50 families in need through her food and toy drive this Christmas.
James is no stranger to doing charity drives, as she's done five in previous years.
This year, she said, is different.
"Normally I would do drives from my own pocket, but as you can see how things are going now, it's getting harder to do it on my own."
James was the owner of Sound Mind Pre-school at Independence Square, Port of Spain. Like every other school, she was forced to move classes online because of covid19,
where she began offering free lessons because "things became very difficult for parents, financially, during that time."
In September, while other schools were reopening for in-person classes, James had to shut hers down.
"Finding a new place to rent was tough for me and I couldn’t afford to pay the other teachers on staff any more."
In spite of James's own financial struggles, she is determined to continue the charity drive this year because she knows families appreciate them.
She told Newsday of an experience she had with a struggling mother on Christmas Eve last year – an experience she uses as her biggest motivation for continuing her drives.
"Last year I did 20 food hampers. When I delivered one to a family, tears immediately came from the mother’s eyes. That would have pushed me to really continue this. As the tears came from her eyes, she showed me how she had nothing in her cupboards to cook for her children and nothing to give them for Christmas. She told me, 'You don’t know how grateful I am for this.' She was a single mother of three."
James is now asking people to contribute food items and toys to put smiles on the faces of families this Christmas.
Collection of items will close off on December 15. The donated items will be used to put together a minimum of 50 hampers and she hopes to start distributing on December 23.
Anyone wishing to help can contact James at 390-1448.