The Good Samaritan Inn, a Seventh-day Adventist-run organization that has been serving the needs of Jamaica’s street people for the past 12 years, has opened a new health center in the country’s capital, Kingston.
The $397,000 health center, which will provide free maternal and dental care, including pediatric dental services, was made possible by a Thirteenth Sabbath offering from the Adventist world church in 2014. The facility is to be built in two phases.
“The church is very much concerned about the impact we have on the community,” said Israel Leito, president of the Adventist Church’s Inter-American Division, whose territory includes Jamaica. “I can see here how the Thirteenth Sabbath offering has made a real impact to help bring dignity and the love of Jesus to this community.”
Anyone stepping into the new health center will feel the respect and dignity with which they deserve, Leito said.
“We want to thank the world church for helping East Jamaica to do this project,” he said. “I hope more help will be on the way so this can be a real project, reaching the people of Jamaica and being a witness for the Lord of what the love of Jesus Christ does in our hearts.”
Gavin Lowe, project manager for the center and a member of ASI, an Adventist supporting ministry, expressed delight at the completion of phase one and said he was looking forward to phase two.
“Phase two will comprise a child guidance and mental health service, which is scheduled to be completed in October of this year,” Lowe said. “There is also plans for the establishment of a skill training center, which is expected to come on stream within the next two years.”
Plans are well advanced with Jamaica’s Health Ministry to operate the health center by providing medical personnel and any needed prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The facility itself is managed by the Adventist Church.
Colette K. Roberts-Risden, permanent secretary of Jamaica’s Labor and Social Security Ministry, who attended the opening of the health center, said Adventist believers were fulfilling the biblical mandate to be their brother’s keepers.
“The Adventist Church has not only recognized some of the needs of the poor and vulnerable but has taken the approach to help in supplying those needs through the establishment of this center,” she said.
The Good Samaritan Inn is a registered charity overseen by a board of directors comprised of members of the business community and the Adventist Church. It was established in 2007 as a joint partnership between the church’s East Jamaica Conference and members of ASI aimed at assisting the needy and homeless through food, clothing, shelter, and health services and thereby reflecting the caring ministry of Christ.
All of its activities are free of cost to recipients and supported by donations primarily from members of the Adventist community.