It took one trip to a children’s home with his mother, who was spearheading a charitable drive, for Martin Greaves to come to the full realisation that giving back to the less fortunate had to be a part of his life’s goals.
Though his parents had ‘good’ jobs and he went to ‘good’ schools, Greaves said even up to the point of migrating to the United States, he never felt entitled, but instead privileged and grateful with a greater yearning to be selfless.
“My mother, Merril Greaves, would take us to Alston to see our grandparents. We would stop at Hanbury Home – this was one of my first experiences of giving to the needy.
“When we migrated, my mother continued her charity work and I always helped her out. I would get medical supplies and equipment. When she retired and returned home, I found myself picking up where she left off. And with the help of Facebook and Instagram, I was able to reach lots of people. I created a Facebook group page exclusively for the parish of Manchester: it’s called ‘The Alumni of Manchester Jamaica’, where I ask for donations and share news about the parish.”
Greaves has donated to areas outside of the parish, but admits that he feels obligated to look out for the place that help to mould him.
“The Golden Age Home … when it was destroyed by fire many years ago, I gave a young man about six wheelchairs after hearing on a radio programme in NYC that the home needed help. In the parish of Manchester, a few institutions I give to yearly are Bosco Boys’ Home, Curphy Home and Mandeville Regional Hospital. A few other institutions that have received help over the years are the mayor’s office, the infirmary and Hanbury Home. I have done a few schools to include Holmwood, Villa Road, Mandeville Junior High and Primary, Christiania Leased Primary, and I have given to several families as well.”
The philanthropist said his greatest challenge currently is the shipping and clearing costs associated with his donations, as he sends several barrels at a time.
He was quick to add, though, that his friends and colleagues remain true to his vision and support the drive when they can.
“Most of the contributions come from person who are from Manchester, but now live in the States. Some persons I know personally contribute, and others are Manchesterians with a good heart. A few persons who always donate are Beverly Foster, the Lallo Family, Dorothy Elwood, among others. I get help when it comes to distribution from my sister, Shelly Dawn; friends like David Daley; and the crew from my award show I hosted in the past. I want to thank each and every one from the bottom of my heart.”
His plan is to do more to help his brothers and sisters across the island, but Greaves says he cannot do it alone, and encourages every individual, particularly those from the diaspora, to build Jamaica by positively changing one life at a time.
“I wish we did more, more often. The number one thing is to give back. I always say if we take only five pounds of items to donate on each trip, it would make a difference. Giving back and building our nation in a positive way can cause a revolutionary change in Jamaica.”
Greaves’ ultimate wish is to have world peace and that people will come to fear God and acknowledge His unconditional love for all.
“The crime and violence in Jamaica and the rest of the world can be reduced – and should be reduced – so the generations to come will say we paved a good path for them. I want us all to find peace with the God, worship Him and understand no matter, we are all one people through the Creator.”