helping hearts: Patrice Boyce, right, founder of the Have A Heart Foundation based in New York, USA, distributes Valentine's Day gifts at Tamarind Square, Port of Spain, after she launched her organisation in Trinidad and Tobago yesterday. —Photo: STEPHEN DOOBAY

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Have a heart and help the homeless

Trini mom in the US gives back for Valentine's...

By Kimoy Leon Sing

Patrice Boyce spent nearly $9,000 out of her own pocket to help the less fortunate yesterday.

Boyce, a Trinidadian living in New York, USA, for the past 24 years, took the one day that is all about love to show love to her fellow man.

She handed out 160 boxes of food, 200 snack boxes and 200 chocolate roses to the homeless and some passers-by which she described as a simple gesture that can make a big difference in somebody else's life.

The red food boxes given out contained macaroni pie, rice, beans, green salad and barbecued chicken while the snack boxes consisted of sweet bread, cake and chocolate roses.

Taking it a step further, Boyce said, "Today, I launched my organisation, Have a Heart Foundation. I love giving back and doing a wide array of charitable causes. Valentine's Day is all about love, and I felt it would be a fitting day to make the public aware of Have a Heart Foundation and what it stands for. We want to help people and help eradicate poverty."

A family-run business consisting of 12 people, the foundation is just over a month old and is currently based in New York.

Boyce said, "I don't reside here (Trinidad). Most of the work you see here today, I did from my home in New York. All the boxes and other items I bought in New York and brought down with me when I arrived in Trinidad on Sunday. The food items were the only things I bought in Trinidad yesterday (Wednesday)."

She added, "Today was a three-stop road trip for my family and me. We started baking some of the food items yesterday (Wednesday), but my family and I actually started cooking the meals at 6 a.m today (Thursday)."

"Our first stop was Rushford Street at Shamrock Home in San Fernando. We then went on the promenade in San Fernando and gave out to the homeless, and our final stop was on the promenade in Port of Spain," she added.

"My mom runs a battered women's shelter, so I grew up knowing the importance of giving back. You see vagrants on the streets all the time and you don't know how they got there, so people should not judge," Boyce said.

She noted while it is easy to turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to the plight of the homeless, why not stretch out a helping hand instead.

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