NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Minister of Social Services and Urban Development Frankie Campbell and officials from the Children Services Division and Childcare Facilities Unit, Department of Social Services, joined Roman Catholic Archbishop Reverend Patrick Pinder in bringing early Christmas cheer to the children of the Nazareth Centre during a visit yesterday.
Campbell was accompanied by Kim Sawyer, acting director, Department of Social Services; Lorraine Duvalier, assistant director, Department of Social Services with responsibility for Children’s Services; Anne Edwards, assistant director, Children’s Services; Regeita Minns, chief welfare officer, Childcare Facilities Unit; and Charlene Fernander, case worker assigned to the Nazareth Centre.
The Ministry of Social Services in a statement noted: “Children’s homes across The Bahamas are usually abuzz with activities in celebration of the Christmas season, but those events have been placed on hold due to the presence of COVID-19.”
Campbell told the home’s children that while the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the way Christmas has been celebrated in the past both locally and globally, Department of Social Services personnel thought it appropriate to find a creative way to continue those celebrations this year, while adhering to all of the protocols established by the Ministry of Health in an effort to reduce the community spread of COVID-19.
“It is Christmas time and during this time we would usually host a number of activities in celebration of the season, but COVID-19 has changed that to an extent because we have to maintain physical distances and do things differently in order to ensure your safety,” he told the children during the visit.
“But while we are doing those things differently, you will still get your presents; you will still get your gifts. Santa Claus has this address on lock and he will be visiting.”
Sawyer also told them: “In previous years, we would welcome many visitors who brought numerous presents with them but while something called COVID-19 prevented that from happening this year, I want you to know that this is still going to be a special Christmas for you and that we are going to do whatever we can to make it that much more special for you…”
The group extended season’s greetings to the children, and joined the staff and residents in singing Christmas carols during the visit.