In Jamaica, Adventists Ease Back-to-School Financial Burden
Just weeks before the start of a new school year hundreds of parents found it difficult to get their children ready for school. However, the Seventh-day Adventist church in St. Ann, recognizing the plight of many, helped to ease the financial burden by hosting its fifth annual Health, Education, and Skills Expo on Wednesday.
The event took place at the Seventh-day Adventist church in Ocho Rios and at an Urban Development Corporation (UDC) open lot.
Omri Davis, health ministries director for North Jamaica Conference, and Ocho Rios, Seventh-day Adventist Church pastor, said, “People are facing serious financial challenges and cannot find the money to buy school books, uniforms, and other necessities, and that is why as a church we are conducting this fair and expo to educate, empower, and help ease the financial burden.”
The Health, Education, and Skills Expo attracted thousands of individuals from across St. Ann and its neighboring parishes who benefitted from textbooks for as little as J$10 (10 cents U.S.), free health checks, talks about financial management and saving for education, and skills training.
Surprised by the offerings, Kaydian Williams said, “Where on earth would you find textbooks selling for J$10 or J$100? I saved thousands of dollars by purchasing textbooks here. I also obtained a free medical check for my son. This is indeed a good thing, and I thank the church very much.”
The main coordinator for the event, Dotlyn Bailey, education sponsor for Ocho Rios Adventist Church, said that the church understands the financial situation. “We see the needs daily, and because of this, we might have attracted more than 2,000 persons. You could see the parents checking off their books on the book list as they made their purchases. In addition, hundreds of students benefited from the free medical checks offered to them. This was indeed a crowd puller.”
Bailey added, “My only regret is that we did not have enough doctors. Because of this great demand, at the next event we hope to have the doctors returning to finish the process. Also, we will sell more books. This time, Sangster’s Book Stores will be here at the church.”
The day’s success came as a result of the support of St. Ann’s Bay Hospital; National Commercial Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia, HEART Trust, CUNA Mutual, Carlong Books, Kingston Book Shop, Book and Nutrition Centre, Bashco, University of the West Indies, University College of the Caribbean, Victoria Mutual Building Society, Moneague College, and the First Regional Cooperative Credit Union.
—reported by Dyhann Buddoo-Fletcher, Jamaica Union, in Ocho Rios.