Tavares Gardens gets shot in the arm for new school year
Residents of Tavares Gardens and adjoining communities in St Andrew benefited from a range of free services on Thursday as Encounter Ministries International staged a health fair in the community with the support of a number of organisations.
Pastor Munroe Allen said the church has been hosting fairs for the past four years in the communities of Sandy Park, Jarrett Lane, and Standpipe.
The community was chosen as this year’s venue because the church has a worship centre at the Tavares Gardens Primary School.
“We have been working alongside the principal and the school, in particular, to impact and transform the lives of community members. Our ministry is not just about the spiritual, but it’s about the holistic man,” Allen said.
He added that a daily vacation Bible school was held for children during the week.
“We have impacted over 150 students each day, so they come and we provide activities for them. We feed them and engage them in wholesome spiritual and social activities,” the pastor added.
School medicals were offered, primarily to students of the school, but alumni who required medicals for entry to high school and members of the Haile Selassie High football team also benefited.
Principal Terrian Nisbeth lauded the church for its initiative.
“We have found that over the years, we have had medical situations arising during the academic year, and we are unable to handle matters as we would want to because we are uninformed, and so we have asked the parents to ensure that this information is provided to us,” Nisbeth explained.
The Kingston and St Andrew Health Department provided vaccines to children whose immunisation records were not up to date, and dental education sessions were held throughout the day.
Care packages containing food, diapers, and sanitary items, donated by Abundant Life Born Again Church based in Georgia in the United States, were distributed to community members.
A naturopathic doctor was also on site to prescribe alternative medicine for adults, while the Heart Foundation provided counselling and blood-pressure screening.
Evangelist Sandra Mills said the event could not have been possible without the sponsorship and assistance of the College of Oral Health, Kirk Distributors, Colgate, Access Medical Services, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and the volunteers who helped to keep things organised.
South West St Andrew Member of Parliament Dr Angela Brown Burke was pleased to see the partnership of the church and the community.
“For communities like ours, there is just so much help that we need, and I think that it is a wonderful initiative. Some persons came and got some food stuff, and I don’t have to tell people in Kingston what is happening with the poverty level, so every contribution in that sense makes a big, big difference,” she said.