You can be part of our Franciscan Outreach in Jamaica!
The friars in Jamaica are focusing on education and community building with ministries such as St Anthony’s Kitchen and Get Kids to School. “We have to try. We are the only chance some of these kids will ever have of rising above their poverty”, says Fr. Jim Bok, OFM.
The friars currently serving in Jamaica are Fr. Jim Bok and Fr. Colin King.
The St. Anthony’s Kitchen in Negril, opened in 2010 to feed the hungry. This busy little place now provides meals to 130 people a day for lunch. In addition, 60 students come by for breakfast before heading off to school.
The Get Kids to School (GKTS) program is fully sponsoring 120 children, assisting families in making it possible for their kids to attend school every day. This includes transportation to and from school, lunch money, uniforms, supplies, breakfast and more. Three GKTS alums are now enrolled in college through GKTSPlus+, a program enabling gifted students from poor circumstances to go to college.
St. Anthony’s Learning Centre, Negril, with a little luck and some prayer, will begin operations in a couple months. The Centre will provide a place where students can go after school to do homework (many houses have no table or place to work and some have no electricity) and access the Internet and have a resource person available to assist.
Additionally, a medical clinic initiative is in the works to address basic health care in the rural area of Revival. “There is no medical presence in the small settlement of Revival,” explains Fr. Colin King who is spearheading the project. “It’s a 30-minute drive by car to the nearest medical facility and a 45-minute drive to the hospital in Savanna-la-mar—and that’s if people can even find and afford a taxi for transportation.”
“There are many requests for assistance with medical care, prescriptions, rent, food, repairs, clothing, etc. We have even helped to bury those who have no other means of paying for it”, says Fr. Jim Bok.
Fortunately, the support coming our way continues to grow. Our work among the poor is totally dependent upon the kindness and generosity of our benefactors. We thank God every day for what we are able to do because of you – and we do a lot!
To support the friars in Jamaica, you can donate at StAnthony.org and specify Missions as your gift preference and write in Jamaica in the “donate” section.