Fri | May 24, 2019

Free Town children get back-to-school boost

Published:Wednesday | August 29, 2018 | 12:00 AMCecelia Campbell Livingston/ Gleaner Writer

FREE TOWN, Clarendon:

More than 400 adults and children were given medical care through a joint effort with the Free Town Church of God of Prophecy Outreach Foundation and members of the diaspora.

Students, in addition to receiving free back-to-school supplies, also had their eyes and teeth checked, courtesy of the May Pen Lions Club and the Clarendon Health Department dental unit.

Medicals and treatment for the adults were facilitated by graduates and interns from the Peace and Love Academic Scholarship (PALAS) programme.

Ruel 'Rula' Brown, who headed the team, expressed satisfaction with the number of persons they were able to reach.

"It is good to know that they (PALAS alumni) could give back in this fashion. It is a very proud moment for me," he said.

Back-to-school supplies were facilitated by Tanya Taylor and Melonie Sterling, who hail from the community and now live in New York; and Tonya King, who was born in Canada of Jamaican parents who hail from Pennants in the parish.

King, who made the trek to be part of the health fair, said she wouldn't have missed it for the world.




She shared that she has been carrying out outreach in Jamaica for a few years, making this joint effort with the church her seventh since 2011.

King told The Gleaner that her outreach was started in memory of her father Azariah, who died in 2007 of a heart attack.

"I wanted to show the love of God to all I could reach, to show that Jesus died for all and not just the rich and in between," she said.

One parent expressed gratitude on receiving the back-to school supplies as she said she didn't get a backpack for her child as the money was spent trying to get as many textbooks as possible.

Pastor for the church and director of the foundation, Zebulah Aiken, said she was overwhelmed by the huge turnout this year.

"It shows that as a foundation we are beginning to make an impact in their lives. My greatest prayer is that we can get the means and the facilities to get a training programme going for at-risk youth," she said, adding that her focus is to match the word of God with tangible actions.

The next big event for the foundation will be their annual children's treat, and Aiken took the opportunity to reach out to stakeholders to give the children a "very merry season".