30 years and 3,000 gifts later – meet Mr. & Mrs. Santa Claus to the kids of Wellington Street in Bridgetown
It was the Christmas of 1981 when Audrey & Geddes Corrie of the middle class Highgate Gardens neighborhood in Wildey, St. Michael decided to give Christmas presents to the children of Wellington Street in the city of Bridgetown.
Previously the Corrie’s used to take presents to the Nightingale & Sterling Children’s homes, this was done in the name of the Maxwell Volleyball Club however – for the Corrie’s were also the creators of Barbados’s first women’s Volleyball team in 1975.
This year on December 24th 2010, 66 gifts (hitting a grand total of 3,000 over 30 years) will be delivered to long-term Wellington Street resident Mrs. Marjorie Cummins – to distribute to the children who live there; but some years more than twice as many have been provided. “It just depends on how many of Wellington street’s resident children’s names of ages 1 day to 12 years that we receive each year that determines the quantity of gifts we purchase,” Mrs. Corrie explained.
Mrs. Corrie is assisted in purchasing these gifts each year by members of her immediate family and staff at St. Angela’s and St. Ursula’s Catholic private schools in Barbados, sometimes even the parents and students at these schools get involved and donate gifts also.
All the gifts solicited are checked before delivery to ensure that they are both new and “…of the kind that I would also give to children in our own family, for just because the children we are giving to are less fortunate than ourselves – does not mean they should get inferior presents, they have feelings just like children of privileged homes,” Mrs. Corrie added.
The Corrie children Lisa, Russel, Craig & Damon are all unanimous in stating that they learned how to be Generous to the less fortunate by watching their mother in action all through their childhood, and that father Geddes taught them to be humanitarians and be cognizant of socially impacting world events; the Corrie children in turn both value and exhibit these traits in their own now-adult lives and continue to pass it on to the next generation of Corrie’s.
Mrs. Corrie says “Christmas would not be the same for me unless I knew that we were able to bring some joy to these children every year,” As for Mr. Corrie, well he’s looking forward to driving his ‘sleigh‘ to Wellington Street on Christmas Eve to deliver the all the lovely gifts.