Items packaged at a pantry opened by the Adventist Church earlier this year to benefit the community in St. Catherine, in Central Jamaica. Five new food banks will be established across five regional areas in Jamaica to benefit some 500 families every month. The food banks will receive distribution of goods for needy families from a larger, central food pantry overseen by the Community Services leadership from the Jamaica Union. [Photo: Central Jamaica Conference]
Jamaica | Nigel Coke/IAD News Staff

Citing statistics that indicate approximately 400,000 persons go hungry daily in Jamaica, and considering food is a basic need of humanity, the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica is continuing the fight to alleviate this high level of hunger through a large food bank center.

“As a church, we must respond to this vast need,” exclaimed Pastor Everett Brown, president of the church in Jamaica, as he launched the food bank. “There are persons in our churches and persons in our wider community who are hungry today. As a result, the church must respond, and therefore, in collaboration with our five conferences [regions], we have decided to be intentional in launching The Food Bank.”

The virtual launch took place at the Seventh-day Adventist Conference Center in Mount Salem, St. James, on September 25, 2021, and broadcast live on all church platforms across Jamaica.

In addressing the theme for the day and the tagline for The Food Bank, “Giving, Caring, Sharing,” Pastor Brown said ever since the inception of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, its conferences and institutions, such as Northern Caribbean University and Andrews Memorial Hospital, as well as the wider membership of the church, have been using their resources to address the social and spiritual needs of the people.

The Food Bank will seek to source food and distribute the food through the five conferences, and in turn, conferences will distribute the food to persons in the church and wider community, said Brown.

Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, delivers the online worship service message at the launch on September 25, 2021. [Photo: Nigel Coke]

Pastor Everett Brown, president of the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Jamaica, delivers the online worship service message at the launch on September 25, 2021. [Photo: Nigel Coke]

“I have decided to make an annual contribution, so I am inviting every member, I am inviting corporate Jamaica, to contribute more and allow the Spirit of God to touch your heart as we source funds and as we source food to feed the hungry and needy in Jamaica.”

The church in Jamaica currently operates several food distribution units across its regions, with the flagship operation coined as The Good Samaritan Inn in Kingston, which serves hot meals to more than 600 street people three to four days per week.

“The Food Bank is expected to initially impact more than 500 families every month,” said Pastor Adrian Cotterell, community services director for the church in Jamaica. “Over time, this figure will increase as we receive support from our constituencies and donors, locally and internationally.”

Cotterell further explained, “Plans were in place before the pandemic to launch the Food Bank, however, the pandemic has worsened the economic well-being of many more families and hence we consider this a privilege to have a food bank as a ministry to communities.”

The Food Bank will operate through all five regional conferences of the union, covering every parish.

The Seventh-day Adventist Church has more than 300,000 members who worship online and in more than 700 churches across Jamaica.

This article was originally published on the Inter-American Division’s website