More than 10,000 residents in St. Catherine, Clarendon and Manchester have been assisted with care packages and other support by the Central Jamaica Conference (CJC) of Seventh-day Adventists.
At the onset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the organisation established a programme where the weekly needs of its members and community persons were assessed and responses made to the neediest across the three parishes.
President of the CJC, Pastor Levi Johnson, told JIS News that all the pastors in the 54 pastoral districts, the community service leaders, and the parish action development committees have been placed on a mission of care, compassion, connection, safety and love.
“All that we do during this crisis will be cushioned from that platform…wherever the needs are, and funds are available, this is what we intend to do through this crisis. We are one family; look out for each other, as if one person should be negligent, it will not only affect us, it will affect the entire nation,” he said, while calling for adherence to instructions from the Ministry of Health and Wellness, to prevent the spread of the virus.
He said a decision was made to allocate sums of money to reach the communities, as members faced greatly difficulties. “We also heard the cries of the community at large, and we said to our pastors that we want them to zero in on the most vulnerable with distribution of food supply in the three parishes,” the President said.
The group has also set up a hotline with one medical doctor and two clinical psychologists, to provide medical advice and counselling to members of the public who are concerned or affected by COVID-19. Interested persons can call (876) 578-4450, (876) 527-4598, and (876) 578-5618.
Pastor Johnson added that the H.S. Walters Health Centre, operated by the Conference and located in Sydenham, St. Catherine, is open every day, providing services at reduced costs, and where persons cannot pay, “they will get the services”.
For his part, Director of Community Service at the CJC, Pastor Everett Smith, said they have sent personnel to communities that have been quarantined, and partnered with Food For the Poor to help persons who have lost their incomes.
“The Conference has been reaching out, and our mission is to take care of the needy. This is what God would have required of His church at this time,” he told JIS News.