Carl Gilchrist, Gleaner Writer
BEECHER TOWN, St Ann:THE NAME says it all: Beecher Town Give Back Association (BTGBA). So when president, Fay Grocia, and other BTGBA members of the overseas-based organisation descended on the community of their childhood in south-east St Ann last week, Beecher Town residents were happy once again.
The residents were treated to a free health fair on Thursday on the grounds of the Beecher Town Methodist Church. This was followed by a fun day on Saturday, spread across the church grounds and the nearby basic school.
Several local organisations assisted over the period, including the National Health Fund, the National Insurance Scheme, Jamaica AIDS Support, and the Diabetes Association. Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna was also in attendance.
"We are trying to get community members the best medical and dental care that we can so they can afford the same lives like people in other communities," Grocia told The Gleaner. "We try to do this every two years, but in between, we have other teams that come in like every six months or so."
Scores of residents from Beecher Town and nearby communities such as Hinds Town, New Hope, and Parry Town turned out for the health fair.
The BTGBA was formed in 2010 and is made up of persons who attended the Beecher Town Primary School and are now living abroad. At the official launch in 2011, the organisation presented two scholarships to students attending the Ocho Rios High School.
This year, funds raised from the fun day will go towards the Beecher Town and Hinds Town basic schools.
The BTGBA is also helping with the building of a community centre and a computer lab for the Beecher Town Primary School. The organisation has also established a funeral fund to assist with funeral expenses for persons in the community.
At Friday's fun day, fire blazed under pots of rice and peas and curried goat, jerked pork, and other favourite Jamaican foods while cricket, dominoes, rides for the kids, and other activities were taking place.
Member of Parliament Lisa Hanna, who assisted by providing the rides for the kids, was happy for the input of the overseas-based residents.
"This is a wonderful group that comes down every year and we always try to assist where possible," Hanna told The Gleaner. "I can tell you, as the member of parliament, my resources alone can't do it, so it's really a collaborative effort, and I love to see when persons from the community give back."
Community member Marlene Francis was unable to attend the health fair with her two kids on Thursday but made sure she took them to the fun day.
"What they are doing is great. They had it last year and it was really good. What they are doing is giving back to the community, providing food and rides for the children, and all of that. It's a great event! I really appreciate it," Francis said.