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A Place of Safety is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization I felt compelled to establish in 2001 after many years of personal trips to the Island of Jamaica. During my visits I did what few very tourists would do: I left my comfort zone to find desperate young children begging and sometimes living on streets in their poverty-stricken communities. I was overcome with sadness as to how these children try and survive while having all the food and drink I wanted back at my hotel. I promised myself that I would return to help the children with education and living conditions. Twenty years later, after battling cancer and raising my son alone, I decided it was time to keep that promise.
I started A Place of Safety to bring awareness to the living conditions on how these children live and the visible poverty that many who visit this beautiful Island choose to ignore. My goal then, and still is, to discover a renewed sense of purpose for these youth. We work and bring supplies to children’s homes and schools. We started at Copse, a remand center for boys, and over the years have traveled across Island to places including West Haven for the disabled. Each trip we bring 20+ duffels of much needed supplies. We have provided housing, small-scale construction projects, and education as some communities have grown more violent and this is the only saving grace for these children. It's unfortunate that some remain on the streets without any other options.
I have grown wiser each time I visit, realizing it’s not how hard we work, but working smarter to develop the intervention programs that are needed. Stimulation, nutrition, and education have the greatest impact, along with unconditional love.
There is an ongoing need for additions and more space to provide for the vision of each new child we meet. Saving these children will not change the world, although the world in which they live will change. Please explore our website to find out more information and how you can donate.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life across the globe in almost every way this past year. Statements such as "we're all in this together" don't take into account the less fortunate for whom the most basic of needs such as food, water, sanitization, and electricity are simply not available.
Moreover, it has been incredibly difficult for people living in slums and isolated areas like Jamaica and parts of the Caribbean. Bans on activities like fishing, direct services, or street vending -- for which a large majority of the population work -- have crippled household incomes. "Social distancing" is nearly impossible to achieve.
While developing countries rely on outside help for aid, this year children's homes and shelters were not allowed to have outside teams come in with supplies, creating tremendous hardship. As a result, Place of Safety had to cancel our scheduled trips to deliver supplies, but sent the remainder of monetary donations to purchase goods locally for children's shelters.
Here you can find a letter from Jamaica Hospital Medical Center thanking us for one of our financial donations this year.
Dear Veronica, The Administration, Board of Trustees, and employees of Jamaica Hospital Medical Center greatly appreciate your generous donation.This most meaningful of gifts, for which no goods or services were received in return, directly supports our efforts to provide the much needed care our patients rely on during this critical time. Your generous contribution will help support the mission and vision of Jamaica Hospital to serve our patients and the community by providing the highest quality, most cost effective medical care, which is accessible and sensitive to all our patients’ needs. Sincerely, Nadine MonteCarlo, Director of Development Jamaica Hospital Medical Center
We are praying to continue with our work in 2021.
Place of Safety expanded our horizons helping the less fortunate children in Turks and Caicos. Our first trip was very successful! Customs was accommodating and thankful for all the supplies we brought in.
During our first visit, we established local connections (communications and logistics) in multiple locations throughout the island. Our first visit was to the S.N.A.P. Center's Special Needs Unit.
Our second stop was Provo Children's Home, where we delivered shoes, dry goods, and clothing essentials for the children there. Below you can find photos of us there sorting donated shoes and food items.
In need of funds for outside playground / recreation equipment:
Our next stop was South Caicos High School, where we brought in duffel bags and backpacks containing school supplies such as pencils, paper, etc. We also donated bundles of hygiene items including soaps and deodorants which the children were lacking.
"I have to say you have made the lives of these kids a lot smoother with these gifts and for that I must say thank you abundantly. We really appreciate them. They will go a far way." -- Mr. Buchanan, Guidance Counselor at S. Caicos High School
We also donated to Potcake Place, a non-profit rescue center for stray dogs, which keeps stray dogs healthy and off of the streets. Tourists can volunteer to walk them and can even adopt them and take them home!
So far in 2018, Kim and I have shipped over 9550 pairs of shoes! An enormous thank you to Hazzard Moving and storage for allowing us to store the shoes as well as their help on a weekly basis. We appreciate all who donate so we can help the less fortunate both here and across the pond!
Peace and Love,
Roni and Kim
1. Distributed supplies from our 25 duffels to children's homes throughout the island
2. Theodora Project Housekeeping
Place of Safety donated a training room and supplied furniture for housekeeping for the Theodora Project in Negril.
Thanks to all who helped with the Theodora Project in Negril. It is a non-profit, educational facility that centers to youth who are at risk of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation due to a lack of educational and employment opportunities.
We raised funds to furnish a room for the students to train to work in the hospitality industry. We look forward to continuing our work with the Theodora Project.
3. Brought Solar energy to community center in rural area of Trelawny
We bought solar panels and electronics supplies for rural community center that we helped build.
4. Delivered much-needed supplies Robin's Nest children's home.
Day 1: Arrived in Montego Bay. Visited Robin's Nest Children's Home in the hills of St. John, delivering much needed clothing and supplies including many shoes collected from our shoe drive.
Watch thank-you video from Miss Joy who I've known for 15 years, who ensures the children are fed daily at Robin's Nest.
Day 2: Met Kimroy Bailey, who drove us to Trelawny to help design and finish building the first renewable energy community center in a rural area of Jamaica. Having recently completed an electrical engineering degree, he is spearheading the effort to build solar energy and wind turbines for the center, instructing children about engineering and robotics in the process. The community center is expected to facilitate a 6 month skills training program for unemployed persons in and around the area. Courses include house keeping, computer literacy, and traditional high school courses. The fact that the community center will utilize renewable solar and wind energy is important because electricity is not common in these remote rural areas.
Watch a video from Kimroy Bailey, explaining the importance of technical education.
Currently the community center is under development, requiring additional work such as painting, tiling, and installation of desks, computers, and basic office supplies.
Day 5: Delivered supplies to Muirton Child Care Facility in Portland, Jamaica. During the trip, we delivered at least 15 duffels of much-needed supplies to 3 different Children's homes.
Sponsor a Child - Suezene, Kamarly, or Miguel Jr. (left to right in photo)
To sponsor a child for food, health care, shelter, and educational opportunities, contact Roni Reichold directly at 314-324-9973. You will have direct contact with them through your sponsorship.
Traveled from Kingston up the coast northwest all the way to Negril distributing supplies. I am now beginning to work with the Community Resource Centre in Sav-la-Mar, Westmoreland who teaches youth reading and computer skills. I am also working with a group called the Theodora Project, a non-profit organization located in Negril that works to empower young people at risk of being exploited in human trafficking and the commercial sex trade by offering opportunities for education, skills training, and personal development. Since our trip, several boys have graduated from the HEART program and found jobs. We will continue to support this special organization in the future.
I am also involved with the Rock House Foundation who transforms the places where Jamaica's children learn and supports the people who teach them. This foundation directly impacts the lives of thousands of children and their families everyday.
Approximately 630 million pairs of shoes are thrown away each year that end up in landfills. These shoes contribute to a long-term methane gas problem as they compost. Instead of throwing these shoes away, they can contribute to the uplifting of people all around the world through “A Place of Safety.”
Current Progress: 10,000 / 12,000 lbs of shoes collected
We are collecting shoes in any condition, and need your help. Your contribution will accomplish a number of things. First, recycling worn shoes reduces toxins in our environment. Second, it puts shoes on people less fortunate who are in need around the globe. For example, thongs on children in Africa can prevent tape worms. In many places, you cannot atttend school without a pair of shoes. Ultimately, we create "shoe banks" at these schools. Therefore, the child that has no shoes will receive a pair when they enroll. And when they outgrow them, they turn them in for the next size. The original shoes get cleaned up and ready for the next child. This creates a hand-up, not a handout! And thirdly, the shoe drive builds micro-enterprise partners as these shoes are distributed around the world, helping improverished people to grow enterprises to feed, clothe, and house their families. In developing nations like Haiti, Africa, and Jamaica, Micro-enterprise means survival for many families. It is the only possibility for self-sustainability.
Please help “A Place of Safety Charity,” my passion, to provide for orphans and homeless children in Jamaica. This fundraiser is a win for everyone! Jamaica’s national motto is “Out of Many, one People”. Let’s unite as one to help not only the children in the U.S., but those of developing nations as well!
We need drop off points in your home, office, school or place of worship. We will provide boxes and posters that can be used for collection days (or weeks). We will then pick them up. Additionally, we can provide you with a customized video for YOUR organization that promotes your business as well as our shoe drive, which we will also feature on our website. For example, see the video created for Ursuline Academy's shoe drive.
Gather footwear that is no longer useful and pass it on. Reduce toxins in our environment. Lend a hand to people in impoverished countries. Assist “A Place of Safety” in this drive to help provide scholarships and supplies to orphans in Jamaica.
Questions? Please call Veronica Reichold at 314-324-9973 or Kim Fogertey at 314-322-9212.
Right Image: Rubber flooring made from chipped shoe soles.
My last trip, I was fortunate enough to bring in 13 duffel bags filled with much-needed supplies, along with 6 walkers and 2 wheelchairs. I travelled across the island over a 7 day period, visiting 4 different shelters along the way. View photos from the trip here.
Providing education, school supplies, uniforms and transportation for children. Many times just having shoes determines if a child can attend school! This program tracks individual students through personal letters and progress reports.
Based on responses of children regarding what precipitated their situations, we have collapses the several causes into the following “Push Factors”:
Since 2001, we have provided Jamaican youth with safer environments and education. Some are now living in States and have grown into accomplished young adults. In Jamaica I have been to courts, shelters and jails for children that have been caught up in the system with no defense, which sometimes led me to dangerous and difficult situations.
“Saving a child will not change the world, although the world in which they live will change.”
There is an ongoing need for additions and more space to provide for the vision of each new child we meet. Saving these children will not change the world, although, the world in which they live will change. Place of Safety exists because Veronica Reichold and friends feel it is their privilege to serve the less fortunate children of Jamaica. This was only possible through God's grace and the many who support and believe in their cause. Please consider making a tax-deductible donation for the following causes.
*Individual donors: If you would like to be recognized for your donation, please email us to give consent to list your name on our website.
A special thanks to my family and friends in Jamaica who have always "watched our backs" and gave me the wisdom to get through my many adventures of tears, frustration, and joy.
Thank you to my dedicated cab drivers and dear friends who took me places that no others would go, and most of all for their ear along our journeys.
Thank you to all our generous sponsors who make our entire operation possible! Most of all thank you to the co-founder of Place of Safety, Kim Fogertey. I could have never accomplished the changes we made without her zeal and her travels with me to areas of the Island that most would never venture. Thanks for your patience and for keeping me grounded.
Questions? Please call Veronica Reichold at 314-324-9973 or Kim Fogertey at 314-322-9212.
In the Webster-Kirkwood Times In the St. Louis American In the St. Louis Post Dispatch 2013 radio spot on The Metro Show 2014 radio spot on The Metro Show 2016 radio spot on The Metro Show