Leida Harriott brings joy through kids’ treat

April 17, 2019

For more than 20 years, children in and around Prospect district in Manchester look forward to Easter, and Leida Harriott is just one of the reasons.

After returning from the United Kingdom 23 years ago, Harriott started a treat for kids in her area.

"When my husband and I returned to Jamaica in 1996, we started a Christmas threat for the kids," she said.

During that treat, they would provide cake, drinks and gifts for more than 50 children.

However, after two years, Harriott said that this was stopped to make way for Easter treat.

"I found it a little bit easier doing the Easter one," she explained. "I ordered buns from the bakery, buy cheese, provide drinks and play music."

She said all the kids, as much as 90, would leave with bun and cheese in their little bags.

"I always do it on Holy Thursday each year," she said.

Harriott, who has six children, 20 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, said that she continues to do the treat because her "love is for children".

The 89-year-old woman, who lived and worked as an orderly in the United Kingdom for 39 years, said that she did similar things while in that country.

"I used to make grater cake to take to church for the children," she said.

"I always tell myself when I come out here (Jamaica), that is what I will do," added Harriott, who was born in Precious Plain and grew up in Kingston.

Although it is costly to host the 90 kids each year, Harriott said: "It doesn't matter to me.

"My children and grandchildren help me," she said, while adding that the bakery and stores provide a little discount on the goods.

The senior citizen is also pleased to see persons who benefited as children return to help, especially on the day of the event.

"I feel good, and they love me," she said. "I will keep doing it. I love doing it."

Charlene Thompson, who benefited from Harriott's goodwill as a child, was on location when CENTRAL STAR visited on Monday. She explained that the treats brought her great joy as a child.

"It's something I always look forward to as a child, and now my children are benefiting from it," said Thompson.

"Although I'm big now, I am still excited because I get my bun and cheese same way."

And after more than 20 years, Harriott wants to keep doing the Easter treats.

"I pray for God to give me the health and strength, because I want to keep doing it as long as I can. I look forward to doing it each year."

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