Dave Lindo, Gleaner Writer
MANDEVILLE, Manchester:GWENDOLYN WHITTINGHAM has made it a point of duty to provide for the less fortunate in Jamaica through her foundation Mother and Son Outreach Ministry.
Whittingham was moved to establish the foundation after she experienced some challenges in her life.
"I remember the days when I never had it to give my children, and I remember when I put my hands on them and cried. For three days, they had not eaten. There was no help for me," Whittingham said. "I cried to God, and I said, 'I am not going to beg, I am going to pray'."
She added: "I got an answer, and I said, 'God, if You help me to get through this hurdle, in return, I will be a missionary of yours to help people. So this is the reason why I am doing it. That was about 27 years ago."
Whittingham was born in Whitehorn, Westmoreland, and migrated to the United States 20 years ago.
mission to help
It was while living in the United States that she started the foundation, whose mission it is to help the less fortunate.
"It came about because sometimes, I remember as a mother, I had it rough myself, and I know a lot of parents who did have it rough like me," she explained.
"So after migrating, I decided to turn back and share what I have, what the Lord has blessed me with. The Lord answered my prayers in times of need, so my son, Boris Wayne Graham, started it. He is the director and I am the founder."
With the help of volunteers, Whittingham journeys to Jamaica three times a year (Easter, summer, and Christmas) and organises treats for the less fortunate.
"We were doing it in Spalding (Clarendon) first. Then the Lord sent me to Battersea, St Ann, at the Church of God of Prophecy," Whittingham said.
"We normally cater to up to 100 persons, but the last one we had in July in Battersea, we provided for up to 153 persons. I interviewed them first and found out their needs. I split $150,000 for those going back to school, along with school bags, school shoes, and books."
Whittingham said for the last treat in July, she spent more than $1 million of her own money for the project.
Part of the money, she disclosed, was spent on buying groceries for persons. "I just don't give them the food. We cook and we have fellowship with God. When they are leaving, everyone gets a little bag or envelope," she said.
"The mothers with children, I give them a special bag, and people who need money, I give them in an envelope. Every person that walks through that door gets something."
She said she is very happy to be able to give to these people. She said: "It brings tears to my eyes. I feel so joyful. The Lord said if you give to the poor, you have given to God, and He will reward you.
"The next one is on December 29. I know it will be bigger."