Citing statistics which indicate that approximately 400,000 persons go hungry daily in Jamaica and acknowledging that food is a basic need of humanity, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica is continuing the fight to alleviate this high level of hunger through a large food bank center.
“As a church, we must respond to this vast need,” Everett Brown, president of the Jamaica Union Conference (JAMU) of the Adventist Church, said as he launched The Food Bank. “There are persons in our churches and persons in our wider community who are hungry today. As a result, the church must respond, and therefore, in collaboration with our five conferences, we have decided to be intentional in launching The Food Bank.”
The virtual launch took place at the Seventh-day Adventist Conference Center in Mount Salem, St. James, on September 25, 2021, and was broadcast live on all church platforms across Jamaica.
In addressing the theme for the day and the tagline for The Food Bank, “Giving, Caring, Sharing,”Brown said that since the inception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, its conferences and institutions, such as Northern Caribbean University and Andrews Memorial Hospital, as well as the wider membership of the church, have been using their resources to address the social and spiritual needs of the people.
The Food Bank will seek sources of food and distribute the food through the five conferences (administrative regions) in Jamaica, and in turn, conferences will distribute the food to persons in the church and persons in the wider community, Brown said.
“I have decided to make an annual contribution, so I am inviting every member, and I am inviting corporate Jamaica to contribute more and allow the Spirit of God to touch your heart as we source funds and as we source food to feed the hungry and needy in Jamaica,” Brown added.
JAMU currently operates several food distribution units across its regions, with the flagship operation the Good Samaritan Inn in Kingston, which serves hot meals to more than 600 people three to four days per week.
“The Food Bank is expected to initially impact more than 500 families every month,” Adrian Cotterell, community services director for JAMU, said.
“Over time, this figure will increase as we receive support from our constituencies and donors locally and internationally.”
“Plans were in place before the pandemic to launch The Food Bank; however, the pandemic has worsened the economic well-being of many more families, and hence we consider this a privilege to have a food bank as a ministry to communities,” Cotterell explained.
The Food Bank will operate throughout all five conferences of JAMU, covering every parish.
The Seventh-day Adventist Church has more than 300,000 members who worship online and in more than 700 churches across Jamaica.