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Chapelton Seventh-Day feeding the hungry

Published:Saturday | June 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Gonzelle Jackson, community leader, Chapelton Seventh-day Adventist Church.
A volunteer shares out food to be distributed to the indigent, shut-ins, and street people in Chapelton, Clarendon.
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Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer

CHAPELTON, Clarendon:

FOR MORE than 21 years, the Chapelton Seventh-day Adventist Church has made it its duty to prepare hot meals twice a month to feed the street people, indigents, and shut-ins in and around the community.

The church's community-service leader, Gonzelle Jackson, recalled the tear-jerking moment she experienced while watching a mentally ill man rummage through a garbage can in Chapelton in search of food. She said that it was this need that fuelled the church's street people feeding programme.

"I saw the need for those persons on the street who forage for food in other people's refuse to be fed hot, nutritious meals at least once or twice per month," she said.

Jackson shared her idea with the church, and the leaders consented.

Since May 1993, on every other Tuesday in each month, a few members of the church gather in the institution's canteen and cook rice and peas and chicken. The food is shared and packaged individually and taken into the town of Chapelton, where it is distributed. Meals for the shut-ins are delivered individually.

SPARSE SUPPORT

Jackson told Rural Xpress that funding for the feeding programme comes mainly from the offering and harvest festival, as well as contributions from a few individuals and supporters of the church.

"There was a time when we would get support from Food For The Poor, but we stopped getting aid from them a long time now," said Jackson.

She said that there is a list of 31 beneficiaries, but there are also passers-by who benefit from the programme.

Marline Morris is one of the persons who benefit from the programme. She said she looks forward to receiving the hot meals as she is not always able to afford a nutritious meal. "I am happy for what the church does for us, and I want to tell them many thanks," she said smiling.

Jackson said she would like to distribute food more often, but the church cannot afford it. "We give God thanks for what He is helping us to do. We may not be able to do this as often as we would like, but we are doing our best," she told Rural Xpress.

PHOTOS BY SHANIQUE SAMUELS