Romero Bentley has every reason to smile as he received a donation from the Salvation Army, Eastern Jamaica Division. Romero, whose mother was killed in a shooting a few years ago, is cared for by his aunt, Colleen Bentley.
This is quite a fine way to raise funds for the needy. The Eastern Jamaica Division of the Salvation Army (SA) advisory board hosted its annual fund-raising banquet and silent auction on Wednesday.
Chairman of the Eastern Jamaica Advisory Board, Tanya Wildish, said this was a night to celebrate philanthropy. She lauded the SA's work in feeding the hungry, rehabilitating drug addicts and leading people to Christ.
The fund-raising banquet has become one of the most anticipated events as the money raised all goes to projects funded by the army. The silent auction was again a hit as guests kept upping their bids on the various items, which included flat screen televisions, lovely artwork and weekend stays at some of the island's most picturesque resorts. Even during the dinner session, guests would head out to check on their bids.
Army's regional work
Caribbean Territorial Commander, Commissioner Raymond Houghton, who was celebrating a year in Jamaica, outlined the army's work in the region. The SA reaches from Bahamas to Barbados, a span of 15 nations. He showed that the army's work extended to not just the affluent areas but those struck by poverty and ravaged by disaster. Major Devon Haughton, commander for the Eastern Jamaica Division, was in jocular mood as he said, unlike the West Indies, the SA had been batting for 127 years against the bowlers of poverty and spiritual decadence.
The Force Band kept guests entertained during the meal. They delivered gospel classics such as People Need The Lord, Bless The Lord and some more secular tunes with uplifting messages, including We Are The World. Gospel singer Roger Shaw also performed.
This year, the SA brought home a noted Jamaican assemblyman from the New York house of representatives. The Hon. Nick Perry called for more companies to contribute to charitable organisations like the SA. He felt that apart from being good for business, it created a good business climate and positively impacted the quality of life. He presented members of the advisory board with citations from the New York state assembly for their sterling work in the division.
Guests included Pokar and Sati Chandiram, Brenda Cuthbert, Billie Clarke, Cleto Parkinson, Lloyd Moss, Dennis Orgill, Daryl and Joan Wilkinson, Grace-Allen Young, Andrew Wildish, Dr. Eileen Boxhill and Major Carl Barnett.