Multitudes of street children and hawkers within parts of the capital had a refreshing taste of Christmas when McDan Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the McDan Group embarked on an exercise to feed the destitute on the street.
With the aim of ensuring that street children shared in the festive season, the Foundation treated the children and hawkers to good food and drinks on Christmas Eve as part of its objectives to support the less privileged.
The team, led by the Chairman of the McDan Group, Dr Daniel McKorley visited bus stops at the Okponglo Traffic Light, Dzorwulu Junction, East Legon tunnel, and Shiashie and shared assorted drinks, biscuits, packaged foods, and other items for the homeless.
Inmates at the East Legon Police Station were not left out as they were also fed on the day.
It was a moment of joy and merrymaking for the beneficiaries, many of whom had spent their entire lives grappling on the streets.
At each bus stop, Dr McKorley interacted with the hawkers and shared messages of inspiration, encouraging them to work harder and be confident that their conditions would change.
“I know it is not your wish to be on the streets, but for the sake of survival. It touches my heart anytime I see you on the streets. As my family and I celebrate this Christmas with you, I have special plans for you as well because I know your needs go beyond food,” he told the gathering.
Fifty-five-year-old Esther Koomson, a mother of four was among hundreds of street hawkers who thronged the Okponglo Traffic Light to meet the team.
Esther, who has been selling plantain chips on the streets for the past 25 years to raise her children, said she could not miss the opportunity, describing the exercise as a timely intervention.
“Sales have been bad for some time now to the extent that buying some drinks for my children this Christmas has been difficult because I have loads of needs to provide. This gesture is not just a gift, it is a big celebration for me and my children,” she remarked.
“The street is hard. We are exposed to so many inhuman conditions. Sometimes we feel nobody cares about us. The gesture done us by Chairman gives us hope that somebody somewhere cares about us,” fifteen-year-old Alfred Logo, a windshield wiper, said.
In an interview, Dr McKorley described the buzz and euphoria that characterised every stop as overwhelming.
He said the move was not only to celebrate the season with the homeless but to ascertain their needs and device interventions that would offer them sustainable jobs and income.
“Indeed finding jobs for them, I cannot do all, so I’m talking to colleagues, companies, and those who can assist me recruit some of them. We have to find innovative ways of taking these kids off the streets. After doing this, I will engage the district assembly to enforce that they do not remain on the streets,” he said.
Mr McKorley underscored the need for authorities to pay critical attention to street children and work to eliminate the menace, stressing that “this is of national security interest...we are breeding criminals and serious armed robbers.”