Fri | Sep 22, 2017

A calendar for a cause

Published:Friday | December 9, 2016 | 12:00 AMKeisha Hill
Food For The Poor 2017 calendar.
A page from the Food For The Poor calendar.
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Have you ever thought what life would be like without a calendar? A calendar is very important to keep up with special dates.

For the past four years, Food For The Poor Jamaica has been producing a calendar aimed at raising much-needed funds for its outreach projects. The work of Food For The Poor is funded by donations as the organisation partners with a number of stakeholders, including churches, non-governmental and private-sector organisations, children's homes and service organisations throughout the island that deal directly with the poor, to fill their most urgent needs and to encourage self-sufficiency.

Over 95 per cent of local and foreign donations go directly to programmes that help the poor. In the first year, the calendars sold by Food For The Poor Jamaica raised more than $800,000. The money was used to assist the Mustard Seed Communities. In the second year, they were able to raise over $1 million and last year, the amount raised surpassed $2.5 million.

DIFFERENT THEMES

According to Michele Chalifour, the Food For The Poor calendars feature a different theme each year. "For over one year, the students studied the artwork of Polish artist Michael Lester and replicated his work on the pieces included in the calendar. There are also recipes and lots of interesting information about Food For The Poor and the work that is done," Chalifour said.

The funds raised from the sale of last year's calendars will be used to build five homes for families in urgent need and, according to Chalifour, based on the sales from this year's drive, the charity will decide on the project for next year.

"This is our way of giving back to the community in a tangible way. The calendars have brought a lot of exposure to Jamaica and, by extension, Food For The Poor," Chalifour said.

Graphic artist Bruce Donaldson, art teacher Fiona Godfrey and the Young At Art Group have been instrumental over the years in the production of the calendar. Young At Art is a group of artists working in Kingston with a mission to create art while having fun with the creative process. This is their third year raising funds for Food For The Poor Jamaica.

"It is an absolutely amazing production and the best calendar ever. Everyone in Jamaica should have one. My students worked on it for over a year and we are very pleased with the outcome," Godfrey said. The calendars can be purchased at Food For The Poor headquarters, Ellerslie Pen, Spanish Town, St Catherine. For more information, call 984-5005.

keisha.hill@gleanerjm.com