BARBADOS UH COME FROM: A cheerful giver
JUDY MURRAY has the Spirit of Christmas all year round. Or maybe it’s the spirit of Florence Nightingale or Mother Teresa or even closer to home in Barbados, Auntie Olga Lopes-Seale.
A self-motivated social worker from Wildey in St Michael, Judy gives relentlessly to genuine cases.
Every time I see Judy she is deeply involved in her latest charity project. If she’s not rushing off to collect items as she puts together hampers, she is preparing used clothing donations to give away or has just paid someone’s utility bill.
She tells me it was only when she became an adult she realized just how many people didn’t have food in Barbados.
But it was as a child that the fire was lit for her life’s passion. It was then that she read of Nightengale and Mother Teresa.
“I used to take up my mother’s things and give them away,” she says. “Even her furniture.”
Then as a single mother she delighted in sharing meals with the friends her children invited home.
A FirstCaribbean International Bank Unsung Hero in 2005, Judy has a soft spot for the aged. Back when she ran a rum shop, she would take Mondays off, go into Bridgetown and find an elderly person to take to Mustor’s Restaurant for a meal.
“I joined Pinelands’ Creative Workshop and did a lot of charity work with them, but then I branched out on my own,” she told me.
Judy relies on the public to support her cause but does not like to take money. She would instead arrange to meet someone at a supermarket for items to distribute.
Unfortunately many of her sources have dried up, she says, but they are still some who are faithful. One problem she encounters is that “many people make promises they don’t keep”.
She says it is not clothes that people really want. It’s food.
“If one person asked for clothes, 100 would ask for food.”
Most Sundays she cooks and asks God to send someone to share in the meal. And He does.
But her charity work does not end there.
“People need so much help,” Judy says.
She says she may have to pay the utility bills of senior citizens and often does it “out of my own pocket when I can afford it”. She may have to find a job, a house or school clothes for a young woman with children. Judy even spends time on the phone listening to people’s problems. Some of them may be grieving.
Countless people have been directed to her home over the years for help. If she can, she will, or redirect them to where they can get that help.
Judy also chips in to assist the Prison Fellowship, Psychiatric Hospital and Geriatric Hospital in her own small way.
“I feel like a million dollars when people get help.
“If you can help one person a day, it would be great,” she said, appealing to Barbadians.
“I won’t stop. I always have something to give.”
So I join Judy in her appeal. Barbadians, at home and abroad, help Judy help those in need this Christmas and all through the year.