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Once one leaves the coastal resort regions of Jamaica, one begins to penetrate both the interior and the hills of the Island Nation; one will find that most of the average Jamaican families, in both rural and urban regions, work in the informal economy of Jamaica. They engage their little side, casual jobs as temporary day laborers in domestic work, tourism-related work, etc., wherever they can. With their meager earnings of a few dollars a day (usually between $20US and $25US a day), and after taking into consideration other living expense needs, they will buy with their remaining pennies a little rice, beans, and when affordable, a little tin of mackerel.
The Friends of the Diocese are the veritable life savers for hundreds of families seeking food and hygiene packages of basic human needs for themselves and, more importantly, their precious children. Friends enabled the Diocese to distribute thousands of crucial care packages and helped the Diocese to serve two hundred plus hot meals, a couple of days a week, to the homeless and unemployed on the streets of Montego Bay.
Many, but not all, of the families have informal job opportunities. But today, the issue that these families face is the inflationary cost of food. With inflation, their small daily earnings have not increased; therefore, their buying power has significantly reduced. It is exceedingly difficult for the lower-income earners in Jamaica. They struggle!
And so, once again, with current inflation rates, these families line up at the Cathedral, parishes, and missions, pleading again for a helping hand with supplemental nutrition and hygiene products for their precious children. Friends, such as Food for the Poor Ministry, graciously supply rice when they can. Other Friends, like Dr. Andrew Simone’s Canadian Food for Children Foundation, generously gift families with various nutritional items when available. Both organizations, as Friends, have been an enormous blessing to our people!
However, INDIVIDUAL FRIENDS enable the Diocese to buy alternate forms of nutrition as a much-needed supplement. Canned proteins are incredibly crucial. Cooking oil, cornmeal, individual hygiene products, etc., are all gifted by the generosity of personal Friends of the Diocese.
But sadly, some still go without; therefore, we encourage you to become a FRIEND of these beautiful families!
Most families in the hills of Jamaica and destitute urban regions live in shack homes constructed with rusted corrugated zinc, dry rotted lumber, torn tarp, and plastic. In foul weather, especially when tropical storms visit, these families often find themselves drenched and sometimes flooded. Tropical weather systems often twist, bend, and sometimes collapse their little shack homes. They are not sheltered from the elements and rodents in the best weather conditions.
Friends of the Diocese, however, have been a massive blessing by embracing many of these families. The solidarity of Friends has enabled the Diocese to buy zinc, lumber, cement, and other building materials (when those materials are unavailable from a donor organization) to make those shack homes a tad more dignified and humane for these beautiful families. Friends also graciously gift the cost of the skilled labor needed to upgrade those shanties.
Food for the Poor Ministry, founded in Jamaica 42 years ago, has been an enormous blessing to the people of our Diocese. They have built, and continue to build, beautiful, simple, and colorful little cottage homes for our families. But, with land title complications in Jamaica, Food for the Poor Organization can only help those with title to the land they live on. So many of our poor live on land that is not theirs. Therefore, Friends of the Diocese have stepped in to help touch and transform the lives of these families that live in squalor through no fault of their own. And what a blessing these Friends are! But so many more await that transformation.
And so, to touch and transform the lives of these awaiting families, to help restore a shattered home to some semblance of security and livability for a needy family…BECOME A FRIEND.
Outside Montego Bay, up in the hills, is a community called The Village of Rose Hill. Though exceedingly poor, this tight-knit agricultural community has requested help setting up a Broiler Chicken and Layer Hen Poultry Farm. Under the watchful observance of Oral Spense, a lay pastoral associate in the Diocese, he has proposed a small “teaching farm” that works closely with the community.
Friends are supporting this animal husbandry project and helping the Diocese with buying materials needed: chicks, startup feed, feeders, and equipment for this project. Spense’s dream is to introduce other animals into the farm and make it a “flagship” farm to serve as a classroom for poor families to see the potential of managing their farms.
Our goal is to make this dream come true, but more financial support is needed from Friends to donate to projects like these and enable families on their journey to self-sustainability.
Our project list for helping our poor friends in the Diocese of Montego Bay is endless, but our resources are limited to the financial support of our FRIENDS in the United States, Canada, and around the world!
Please join us and become a FRIEND, knowing 100% of your donation is used to aid these low-income families in their struggles.
“The Friends of the Diocese are a diverse group of people from the United States of America, Canada, and from those who can participate in our Jamaican society. These donors are the real heroines and heroes of the Diocese. They champion and enable the vital work of the Diocese with the painfully poor and needy of Jamaica.
(With) all the above layered on top of the ongoing and existing challenges of supporting our cherished children’s educational needs, keeping our Cathedral and parish buildings from crumbling apart, our vehicles functioning so that we can access the hills and other impoverished regions, etc. The needs and challenges of a poor mission Diocese are significant indeed. Hence, we sincerely thank our beloved and heroic Friends of the Diocese for their ongoing willingness to journey with us. May they be blessed beyond what is even imaginable! Please become a new Friend, join our existing Friends, and journey with these impoverished yet beautiful families, indeed the People of God on this Island Nation!”
Make check payable to:
Friends of the Roman Catholic Mission Diocese of Montego Bay, Inc.
Send checks to:
Friends of the Roman Catholic Mission Diocese of Montego Bay, Inc.
c/o Father Glen P. Baptiste
P.O. Box 1665
Wildwood, FL 34785