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Social programmes bolster needy

rhondathompson, [email protected]

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GROCERIES, COOKED MEALS, clothing and money.Many people in Barbados are counting on the church for these items on an ongoing basis and several church leaders recently told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY that they make provision as best as they could.Senior pastor of Abundant Life Assembly Ivan Broomes said, “There is an African saying that, a hungry belly has no ears. So, we try to take care of people’s stomachs. I think when their stomachs are full then they give us a hearing.”This was partly the rationale behind his church’s Meals on Wheels programme that fed 36 to 40 people each Monday, Wednesday and Friday and the daily supply of raw food from its stocked pantry.Moreover, Abundant Life Assembly gave out 100 to 120 hampers at Easter and Christmas, raised money for fire victims, contributed to programmes that helped drug addicts, conducted medical outreach programmes overseas and contributed to worldwide missions, Broomes said.Meanwhile, the head of New Dimensions Ministries Apostle Stephen Holford said the provision of groceries to the needy was a regular feature of its social programmes, along with help to primary and secondary students with stationery for school, gifts at Christmas and kites at Easter.“We also want to give extra lessons to those preparing for 11-Plus. We have many teachers in the ministry and we have many people who can teach, but who are not [currently] teaching and a couple of principals,” Holford added.Chief executive officer of People’s Cathedral Peter Williams said the church distributed approximately 90 food packages every month and sold used clothing at between $1 and $3 to support members and others who sought financial assistance with paying, for instance, utility bills.Work in Haiti“We work with Heart For Haiti, which is an orphanage in Haiti. We have been supporting it for about 27 years now . . .  About three years ago we got members of the church who wanted to sponsor a child within the orphanage to do so,” he noted.Further, the Salvation Army’s head in Barbados Major Dewhurst Jonas said the organisation ran two day care centres and three pre-schools at fees below market price, in addition to daily feeding programmes, a men’s hostel and a shelter for fire and flood victims.According to head of the Methodist Church in Barbados Rev. Cuthbert Edwards, social programmes in that denomination included fortnightly feeding programmes, monthly medical clinics, the provision of groceries, monthly stipends for the indigent, and unemployment and burial assistance.“We’ve had incidents where we have paid off for houses for people at the NHC [National Housing Corporation] and substantial medical bills,” he disclosed.Bishop of the Anglican Diocese in Barbados Dr John Holder pointed out that the Anglican Church had “a very strong outreach social programme”.“In every parish in the diocese, going back 200 years there has always been a bit put aside to help the poor. The Anglican Church, for example, was very instrumental in getting education here. It was very instrumental in getting housing going. We are still doing it.“Some parishes have feeding programmes. Some collect items such as groceries and clothing for the poor. And they need not be an Anglican to get help. Whoever in the district needs help, if we can afford it we will help the person,” Holder said. (SR)