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Church-based organisations join forces on inner-city health fair

Published:Wednesday | July 22, 2015 | 12:00 AMAndrew Harris
Community members select tested glasses that suit their needs following eye examinations they had during the health fair.
Ayana Dennis (standing at back) and Alexis Stewart (right), both volunteers from the Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in Queens, New York, play games with children during a health fair and community intervention hosted by Encounter Ministries International in collaboration with Bethel Gospel, Member of Parliament for St Andrew Eastern André Hylton, and others on Jarrett Lane, Mountain View, in St Andrew, on Wednesday.

Empower Ministries International (EMI) has collaborated with Member of Parliament for St Andrew East André Hylton and the Queens, New York-based Bethel Gospel Tabernacle to take their annual health fair to the Mountain View area.

The Gleaner on Wednesday caught up with both the local and international teams that coordinated the health fair at the Jarrett Lane community in Mountain View.

The team said the fair would take place over four days, ending tomorrow, and is expected to serve more than 3,000 residents.

Not only will the team be attending to the medical needs of the residents in the community, which include HIV testing, dental examinations, eye tests, pressure tests, prostate screening, and many other medical services, but it has also satisfied some of their other requirements by providing eyeglasses to those in need, food supplies, and back-to-school items for the children.

According to Pastor Munroe Allen of EMI, who has been working closely with the communities in the surrounding area and is one of the main organisers of the fair, this is the third year that his ministry has been collaborating with the Bethel Gospel Tabernacle in serving the Mountain View communities.

"Every year, we partner with the MP and the Bethel Gospel Assembly in order to bring this health fair to the community, and this is our third year. Councillor Dallis Campbell has worked hard with us as the community liaison to make it all possible as well," said Allen.

"Quite a number of care packages will also be provided for persons who have attended the health fair, and through the partnership, we were able to get 18 barrels shipped to Jamaica with all these items," he added.

"The project is expected to get a number of things done for the community over the few days."


Home repairs


The combined team has also selected five elderly persons from the Jarrett Lane community for whom they will carry out home repairs with tools and materials they have provided.

Beverly Caesar Sherrod, who represented the overseas team of Bethel Gospel Assembly, led by her brother, Bishop Roderick Caesar, expressed joy that the team was able to make the necessary sacrifices in order to get the health fair under way.

"The team has made tremendous efforts to carry out this mission trip as these volunteers have funded themselves and took the time off to be here," said Caesar Sherrod.

"We believe that all people belong to God, and we are just happy to be a part of this moment to offer our service."

The team caught up with Kenneth McFarlane, who was excited to get his eyes checked and who walked away with a new pair of glasses.

"My eyes are not so good and one of them seems to be worse than the other, but before I came to do the check-up, I wasn't able to make out the numbers on my phone. Now, with the glasses, that problem is fixed," said McFarlane.