Offering youth God's love and hope
In addition to providing lunch money and meals to students at the primary-school level and donating school supplies, Mabel Wood, founder and director of Love and Hope Ministries (LAHM), wants every child with whom she interacts with to feel God's love in a real way.
Speaking with The Gleaner in recognition of the organization's 14th anniversary, Wood shared that giving back never becomes a ritual, as the need for assistance is always great.
"We are a Christian organisation, so we are not only in the schools to ensure that the students don't end up on the streets, but we want to make sure that they know God loves them," she said.
"We nurture them up to GSAT (Grade Six Achievement Test). So we make sure they have lunch and back-to-school supplies and everything that they need up to GSAT. You wouldn't like to know what a little love does, it brings out the best in them. Many of them do the GSAT and pass for good schools and are doing well."
Wood admitted that it has not been an easy task over the years, but said the results and testimonials from the students of the six schools her charity serves in Kingston and St Catherine continue to remind her of the true purpose of giving back.
NOT ABOUT ME
"It is a calling, and it has been fulfilled by the provision of the Lord.
This is not about exposing me and other members of the group but it is about exposing what God is doing," the philanthropist told The Gleaner.
"What keeps me going is the passion I have for children, and I think I was born with that passion. I love to see children who are brilliant excel. I am a trained dental nurse, and we worked a lot in the inner city and I saw poverty at its worst. Prophecies came that I was supposed to help children. It came (prophecy) about two times and I ignored it, but when the third one came, I couldn't resist it anymore. We started under a tree in a church yard, and 14 years later, we are still here."
Wood's expectations for LAHM is, "We want to expand our services to feeding the children through high school, even to university. That is the long term plan."
LAHM's anniversary celebrations will culminate with a banquet to be held this Saturday at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.