Politics, the hot button issue of the day and the word of God are all topics that Gaspard Henry delight himself in and can engage you on, if you let him. He can release a hint of wit at a drop of a dime, with a straight face and will bellow a loud laugh if you call him out on it. But all that aside there is one thing that Henry is most passionate about and that is his desire to make a difference in the lives of the poor and destitute in Saint Lucia. Seven years ago he started his “Feed the Poor Ministry” which he says was directed by the voice of “God.” And, after several challenges, the organization has been recognized by the Government of Saint Lucia, who for the second year is providing a subvention to facilitate preparing meals for the poor. Still, a humble Gaspard whilst not downplaying the Government’s role says; “the little one dollar, five dollars, that the public gives has really helped, is deeply appreciated and still necessary.”
“The Government subvention puts me in a position to fulfill my mandate of feeding ninety meals, twice a day, three times a week,” Gaspard related to the Star this week. “Currently I provide meals twice a week, Mondays and Fridays, but I know there is a greater need out there,” he adds. Gaspard says he is truly committed to fulfilling his mission that came to him in a dream at 3am one morning in 2006.
“I suddenly woke up from that dream where I heard the voice of God telling me that he wanted me to serve my country by feeding the poor,” Gaspard revealed. He said after later consulting with a prayer warrior he felt that it was his destiny. “I then spoke to my wife who was a bit hesitant at first. She was wondering about the little monies we had saved up for our home. But after discussing it with her further I went to the bank withdrew five hundred dollars, did some groceries and she cooked the first set of meals,” Gaspard tells us. And so seven years ago he served his first set of meals to fifteen needy persons. And so too started his journey, which though filled with stumbling blocks and criticism by some, received the blessings of many in the public domain.
On one particular day whilst feeding the poor by the city hall Gaspard said he was spotted by the manager of ScotiaBank, Chester Hinkson. “Mr. Hinkson came up to me and said he liked what I was doing, pledged his support and advised me on how to go about legitimizing what I was doing and retaining a lawyer,” Gaspard says. He followed the advice and six months later had his organization registered as a not-for-profit charitable organization. This done, Gaspard Henry was now able to solicit donations and contributions and one of the first major entities to come to his aid was the National Community Foundation (NCF). Since then he has received much support from the Streams of Power Ministry as well as sponsors like ScotiaBank, First Caribbean Bank, Tiles Plus, Caribbean Metals and St Lucia Mortgage & Finance. “But in all of this the help from the public still plays a pivotal role,” says Gaspard.
Ultimately he says he would like to see his organization operating from within its own structure. Currently his home and the William Peter Boulevard serve as administration quarters. He also has to depend on others to help him transport the meals. Ideally he says having a vehicle for the organization would greatly ease the burden. Still Gaspard Henry is thankful saying that the media has also been quite supportive particularly DBS, The Star and Andre and Charlie on HTS Radio 100.
In 2012, Gaspard Henry received a national medal for his dedication in the field of community service. The medal was bestowed upon him by the Governor General of Saint Lucia, Dame Pearlette Louisy.