Mental Health Leadership and Advocacy Program (MHLab) over the Christmas season fed dozens of mentally disabled and homeless people living in the streets of Monrovia, Liberia.
Witness standing around 12 different parts of central Monrovia said they observed a jeep filled with four of MHLab workers handing over to homeless people plate of food, along with soft drinks, wrapped in aluminum foil.
“It was a wonderful sight to see these vulnerable people, who everyone passes by on a daily basis, receiving handouts. I was filled with pleasure to see them devour their food as soon as MHLab workers left,” said Abraham Sirleaf, a local security guard working at Ministry of Finance.
MHLab has been functioning for the past four years. Sametta Thomas, its country director, says providing such assistances for the mentally disabled is well needed during the Christmas season.
“We're an advocacy group for the mentally disabled and have observed that during holiday seasons, they are not gifted. We at MHLab are here to help them and see to it that their needs, if not all, are met gradually,” she said.
Among some of the mentally disabled who received food was a man who could not identify himself. After seeing his plate of food, he spoke for the first time, saying "thank you papa, thank you so much,” while staring at his plate in surprise.
Another man, who seems to be suffering from a severe skin infection and who goes about almost completely naked, could do nothing but look in wonder at the hot meal handed over to him.
"Merry Christmas; eat your meal, everything is okay,” Sametta said, smiling, as the man began to reach out for his plate.
There was also an elderly woman who says her family drove her out of the house after she was unable to care for herself, adding that she has been living on the streets for months. Unable to stand on her own, she sits on Broad Street begging help from passersby and pedestrians.
Noticing the group of MHLab employees edging towards her, she began to ask for help and was handed a hot plate of food and cold soft drink. Crying with joy, she began to sing songs of praises, her eyes teary as she stared at the group in wonder.
“Let God bless you for this. My God, you are so wonderful,” she said.
Meanwhile, a female journalist who asked to remain anonymous says she has throughout the month been feeding the homeless and mentally disabled and was ecstatic to have joined MHLab in helping to add purpose to her cause.
“You can’t do anything alone without a strong foundation to back you. Now that MHLab has experienced what it feels like to feed these helpless people, I know help is now on the way for them,” she said.
MHLab says they are working on another big project in order to help the mentally disabled get off the streets.
“I hope this gesture of kindness will prepare them in understanding that people care for them and want to help,” says Sametta.