When destitute, single mother of six Annette Higgins was invited to the launch of Food For The Poor (FFP) Jamaica’s 5K Run/Walk, she had absolutely no idea that the charity group would have announced her as being among the individuals to receive a house from the event which was held on Saturday, May 13.
For the last 15 years, Higgins said that her life has only been going downhill. In addition to living in a structure which is falling apart, all three fathers of her six children, now ages 8, 12, 15, 19, 21 and 23, died during their childhood and left her to care for them, which has resulted in her suffering from depression for years.
“Life has not been easy, but I still give God thanks. My three babyfathers passed away. Gunman did take away one, one died from his appendix burst inside of him, and the last one died from sugar and pressure in the hospital in 2013. After that I have been going through a bad, bad situation,” Higgins, a vendor who mainly sells fruits, said in an interview recently.
“I didn’t know that I would really make it through that period. I was so sick. I lost a lot of weight, frustrated, but by the help of God and with prayer, pastors and my children, I am still here and happy to receive a house.”
Higgins said that she now has no regrets about taking advice from one “Miss Thelma” to journey to FFP Jamaica’s head office. She called numerous times before being shortlisted on the housing recipients’ list and was interviewed for a house. On April 4, at the launch of FFP’s 5K Run/Walk, Higgins was told that she would be the recipient of a two-bedroom house from funds committed by CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.
A grateful Higgins said: “I’m just feeling overwhelmed. I know that God is a man that name ‘Must Come Through’ and I didn’t stop press until I get through. If you notice, everything wah gwaan right now fi mi, is not me you nuh; it’s God who hear mi cry and my pain, because He knows everything. In everything, I have to big up the Almighty God.”
Now that she has received a house, Higgins said that she and her children will continue working on a plan for their upliftment.
“Right now, I am a person who don’t like beg. I like to ask and work for it. As Matthew 7:7 says, ‘Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you will find.’ Throughout my situation and the challenges I have been through, it has not been easy as a single parent to grow up the children without a father and not working. I don’t believe in walking and begging and we still going through,” she said.
Chairman of FFP Jamaica, Andrew Mahfood, thanked FirstCaribbean Bank for donating the money to build the house for Higgins a few days ahead of the 5K event. He also praised other donors who have committed 40 houses to date to the event.
“When you hear us say that we want to build 100 homes, that’s just a drop in the bucket. We need to build 10,000 homes, because there are tens of thousands of Jamaicans who we have seen and are now on our waiting list who are desperately in need of homes,” Mahfood said at the launch.
Mahfood strongly believes that the goal of constructing 100 houses from the recently held 5K event will be achieved and would be equal to the total number of houses built from the event since its inception in 2015.