Senior cop loves helping the less fortunate
For Emily Douglas Howard, the need to perform acts of kindness is inborn. She has childhood memories of her late mother, Sephlyn Douglas, and the Good Samaritan work she did in her community. Howard, 58, found herself giving abundantly to the less fortunate as a child. Now a police inspector, she has no intention of stopping her philanthropy. She currently journeys throughout the Corporate Area, feeding and clothing the homeless.
"I start to serve people from Portmore and come straight into Kingston, because there are a lot of homeless people out there who need the help," she said. "Trust me, when I have done my job delivering food, I just find myself giving God thanks that I can help somebody else. It makes me feel satisfied in myself." The gratitude expressed by the recipients also keeps Howard motivated.
"Sometimes when I give them the stuff and I see how their faces light up and they tell me thanks a million times, I know I am doing something right. There are even children out there, too, and it touches my heart," she said. The over 25-year initiative, which is mostly self-funded, finds Howard doing deliveries twice a week.
"I used to bring stuff like every Sunday before COVID-19, but now I realise that the need is greater, so I'm out there on Saturdays and Sundays. I get some assistance from a few friends abroad who send me, like, barrel and pallets with food now and then, or when I travel overseas I pack barrels and ship them down," she said.
While growing up in the rural community of Guava Ground, Clarendon, Howard faced financial struggles. She believes God has blessed her to change lives with what she has.
"I saw my mother assist as much people as she could out of what she had. Her survival was from the Coronation Market, and whenever she went to the market and came home, you would see a number of people in the district come to get stuff. So I just look at that and know that I'm in this position for a reason," said Howard. "All of us cannot be doctors or teachers or find ourselves in the highest profession, but we have to remember those who fall between the cracks."
Though she has been beating the odds to keep her programme afloat, Howard admitted that more help would see her change even more lives.
"The feeding programme can use much more help, because things are very expensive. Sometimes my foodstuff run out and it pressures me to think that I don't have anything to bring out. I even go and credit stuff just to cook sometimes," she said. "I would love to do so much more because a lot of people need the assistance. Sometimes all they need is some water. I watch people fight for water, something so simple, and it is really touching to see the need of our people."