Kareem Constantine is a satisfied man after shipping off from Canada 17 barrels of food stuff, toiletries, cleaning supplies, and other essentials for individuals of various communities in Clarendon, where he spent his formative years.
The Glenmuir High past student, who now calls Canada home, said he has one mission in mind and that is to make a difference in Clarendon.
In an interview with The Gleaner, Constantine related how his journey in outreach, which started in 2007 while a student at the UWI, started.
“I was a resident on campus, living on Rex Nettleford Hall. Students were moving out as their exams had ended, but I observed a disturbing trend: large quantities of perfectly good food, clothes, personal hygiene products, cleaning supplies, and even small household appliances were being thrown out,” he shared.
He said the idea struck him to request the leftover food items and other stuff. He soon realised it was more than he could handle as the word spread and everyone was eager to contribute. He had to solicit the help of friends in the collection drive.
“Little did I know that word had spread further than the confines of my hall and made its way on campus. I received a call from the late Donna Falconer, Guild Office secretary, one day asking me to drop by her office because she heard about my collection drive and would love some support for a family in Vineyard Town, where she was from. It turned out that a large family of four single mothers and their nine children had recently lost everything, except a bed frame, in a fire,” he shared, adding that since he was collecting and didn’t have anyone special in mind to give, he would give everything to the family.
Their expression of joy and gratitude had such an impact on Constantine that he vowed to continue being involved in outreach and he would make it a yearly effort.
Fast-forward to 2020, and Constantine can now look back at some of his many efforts that include coming to the aid of charities, fire victims, Missionaries of the Poor and the Mustard Seed Communities, to name a few.
The young philanthropist said that what has kept him going and influenced what he is doing is the thrill of helping people, seeing the growing need of those who have fallen on hard times and the support from his amazing group of friends and family members, who always came through for him.
“The values instilled in me as a child by my mother, Dawn Constantine, have kept me going,” he said simply.
With COVID affecting many, Constantine said his outreach this year is timely, and the need to create an even bigger impact has seen him launching a GoFundMe campaign (Kareem’s Collection Drive), which raised over CAD$5,000, the proceeds of which he used to buy the needed items, which he shipped.