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Update from Jamaica: Hurricane Beryl

Updated: 5 days ago




Dear Friends,

As you may know, Treasure Beach in St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, holds a special place in our hearts. Over the past few years, it has become like a second home to us, thanks to its incredible community of warm-hearted and resilient people. Unfortunately, Treasure Beach was severely impacted by Hurricane Beryl, leaving devastation in its wake. It was the hardest place hit on the entire island.


This community is not just a picturesque spot; it holds deep cultural significance. It's where Alex Haley penned Roots and where the renowned Calabash Literary Festival has nurtured many literary talents like Marlon James. The Henzell family, who own the iconic Jake’s Hotel where we stay, are pillars of this community. Perry and his wife Sally’s seminal film, The Harder They Come, starring Jimmy Cliff, is significant for many reasons. It introduced the world to reggae, rocksteady and Jamaican Culture. In 2022, the soundtrack for the film was selected for preservation at The Library of Congress. 


Jason Henzell, Perry Henzell’s son and the current owner of Jake’s, is a friend who has dedicated his life to uplifting Treasure Beach through initiatives like the Breds Foundation.  Breds focuses on education, sports, and sustainable environmental practices, crucial for the local fishing industry’s future. Inspired by Jason’s activism, our family has partnered with Breds to support education in the area, providing professional development for educators and essential equipment like slide projectors. Currently, we're working on a grant to introduce a structured literacy program at Newell High School, aiming to improve reading and writing skills among students who are struggling academically. Most of the students we have observed read at shockingly low levels and deserve support for better futures. 


The recent hurricane has exacerbated the challenges faced by this hardworking community. Despite receiving some aid, including tarps, generators, and bottled water, much more is needed to rebuild lives. The local tourism, a vital economic lifeline, has also been hit hard due to post-COVID difficulties and travel advisories.


If you would like to join us in supporting Treasure Beach, any contribution small or large would be immensely appreciated. We're deeply touched by the community's unwavering positivity amidst such adversity, and we're committed to standing by them in their journey towards recovery. All funds will go directly to Breds. https://bredsfoundation.org/about-breds/. Email is to let us know the best way to contribule at: nolalsp504@gmail.com

We thank you for considering this cause close to our hearts. 


Warm regards,

Kate and Todd Novak

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