Eight years ago, with only a thought and a prayer, I started the initiative Sharing Tillie’s Love in Jamaica and Beyond.
At the time, my grandmother Mavis James, a Jamaican native but resident of Dallas, had begun taking ill in her 70s after raising several children and working until her health wouldn’t allow her to do so anymore.
She spoke to me about the community work I had been doing stateside and in Jamaica. This birthed the idea of something great that her children and grandchildren could facilitate in her honor.
For many decades, Mavis, affectionately known as Tillie, worked long hours, often as a caregiver for children or by providing housekeeping services, to provide for her family in Jamaica or others in need. She has since been laid to rest, on April 15, 2020.
I’ve had the opportunity to partner with many individuals, businesses and organizations in the past, such as Mitzi’s First Impressions and Kinks Coils & Waves, both in DeLand, and Spicy Grove Youth Center, housed in Oracabessa, Jamaica.
Most recently, I received support from the Daytona Beach Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the Renew Group in Tampa, and many other local patrons to provide necessary toiletries, clothing, shoes, food items and school supplies to more than 100 families in Oracabessa.
The pandemic has caused challenges across the globe, where many daily needs have (as of late) not been met. With the dwindling ability to receive necessary resources, due to lack of employment, the organizations have locked arms to solicit donations, utilize personal funds and schedule collections to offer food staples and care kits.
The following donations are always needed: deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes, bath soap, backpacks, lunchboxes, washcloths, pencils, pens, rulers, composition books, socks and T-shirts.
It is my belief that there is power in building relationships and providing resources to those in need.
In August, Cameron Enterprises, the Daytona Beach Deltas and the Renew Group distributed shoes, clothing, school supplies and food items to many families in this area.
If you would like to assist or learn more, email email@example.com.
— Cameron, a longtime educator, lives in Orange City.