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Children’s hostel in need of donations

A minivan, an industrial dryer, rice, sugar and grits–these aren’t items you would typically find on a Christmas wish list, but for the Bahamas Children’s Emergency Hostel, these goods are desperately needed for upkeep of the center.

The needs at the hostel are great but the donations are slim. Treasurer and board member of the hostel Philip Stubbs toldThe Guardianyesterday that donations have drastically declined in the last few years.

An immediate need of the hostel is a mini van or caravan. Other more basic needs on its Christmas wish list include groceries, lunch items, personal items like bath towels, underwears, clothes and shoes, and toiletries for the children. The hostel also needs mattresses, wall shelves, and an industrial dryer.

The hostel, located on Mckinney Drive, off Carmichael Road, is a center where abused children are sent to be cared for. Currently the hostel takes care of the needs of 24 children. Assistant hostel administrator Nakita Smith said many of the children have either been abandoned or neglected.

Stubbs said for the past several years the hostel has suffered because of the slow economy.

Asked what it would need to put the hostel on a good financial footing, Stubbs said,”it will take whatever we can get.”

“Each year we end up with a deficit. The cost of operations is greater than the revenue. We also have capital needs, like furniture and equipment. In terms of needs we always have them-operational or capital expenditure,”Stubbs said.

He emphasized that over the past two years donations to the hostel have declined by about 30 percent.

“One of the main challenges we face is raising funds to run the hostel. We do get a subsidy from The Bahamas government. Other than that we essentially depend on donations from the public. They provide the funding to buy supplies, groceries, pay the staff, etc.,”he noted.

He said it costs about$300,000 annually to run the hostel.

Stubbs added that the subsidy from the government only covers a portion of the money necessary to pay the salaries of the people employed at the hostel.

In total, there are 26 employees.

Smith said with Christmas approaching, she is looking forward to the donations which she said are likely to pour in.

She said Christmas is the season when donations and gifts are plentiful.

“During Christmas time a lot of things pick up but right after Christmas it will decline again.”

Already two Christmas trees have been donated to the hostel.

Smith said she would like to see an increase of male mentors. Additionally, she said there is a need for psychological services.

“Other than that, whatever you use in your home we could use it times 24,”she quipped.

The hostel can comfortably accommodate 26 children, ages four to 11, according to Smith.

“Residents who have not been returned to their relatives, fostered or adopted by age 12 are transferred to a residential home for older children, where they reside until age 18. The average length of residency at the hostel is one year. The children attend worship services each Sunday, and public schools. Pre-schoolers receive scholarships from community pre-schools.”

Several areas of the hostel need to be repaired, including the bathroom facilities. Several pieces of furniture also need to be replaced.

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