Thu | Jan 18, 2018

LifeLine Missions selflessly caring for the less fortunate

Published:Saturday | May 21, 2016 | 12:00 AMShanna Kaye Monteith
Sergent Taylor delivers a porridge in one of their weekly run.
Members of Port Morant Lifeline Missions prepare lunch for the less fortunate.
From left- Vinette Johnson with fellow members of the Port Morant Lifeline Missions Flowers Lytlle and Maria Burke.
Mother and son enjoy porridge.

Born from one woman's raw passion and her genuine concern for the well-being of people is the Port Morant LifeLine Missions, an initiative that feeds up to 87 persons twice per week.

Vinette Johnson, a mother, a Christian, and a humanitarian, from the Cotton Tree Community in Port Morant, St Thomas, has always had a vested interest in helping people, so it came as no surprise to her friends and family members when they heard what she had planned.

"I've lived in the community for many years, and whenever I cook, I would offer some food to whoever I can whenever I see that there is a need.

"I started to cook more food to help and upon serving them, others would start to show up, asking for assistance, too. I took up a challenge and said I will try to do my best to help the people. So I communicated it with some of my friends and told them to let us think about this. I told them that the people need some help and I cannot do it alone," she said.

Her friends agreed to become part of the initiative, and as of March 8 this year, the group of 10 began a feeding programme, which provides porridge every Tuesday morning and lunch or soup every Friday.

"We support basic schools in and around the community. We serve as many people as possible. There are many more who need to be fed, but we don't have the money to feed them all. Sometimes we have to go on the road and beg so we can have items to cook," Johnson shared.

Describing her passion as a calling from God, Johnson reminisced on a day when they had no porridge left and two young boys walked up to her house to ask her for some.

After she told them that there was no more, the boys, who were already dressed for school, revealed how hungry they were and even asked her to "scrape the pot".

Johnson described what happened next as miraculous as she was able to get two sealed parcels of porridge for them, though she had believed that it was impossible.

"It was like God provided out of nothing. So you see, the people really need the food. I wish we could do more than even just feeding them. We want to clean up some of the elderly people and give them more than just a warm meal, but we need help to buy more food.

"We even need a vehicle to help with the delivery, too. I cook at my home then I ask Sergeant Taylor from the Portmore Police Station, who got the permission from his superintendent, to assist with the service vehicle to help us deliver the food, but sometimes when he is not available, we have to put the container of food on our shoulders and walk around," she revealed.

The Port Morant Lifeline Missions now has 10 members who are selflessly dedicated to the cause of helping the "shut-in" and the less fortunate, including but not confined to the elderly, the homeless, and children in the community.

One member shared that it was a blessing to see that they could help in whatever small ways they could.

"God blessed us, so we can bless others. We don't mind not getting paid; we willingly take out of our own pockets to make this happen.

"And we don't do it for the thanks. we do it because we have a genuine concern for them. We would like to help more people at the hospital and even the infirmary, but though the heart is willing, the pocket is weak. We need more people on board. We want to show these people that somebody still cares about them. We want them to feel needed and loved," she said.

Members of the group say they welcome any contribution that they can get whether in food, funds, or service.