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Free Town Church of God of Prophecy Outreach Foundation committed to giving back

Published:Monday | December 20, 2021 | 12:07 AMOlivia Brown/Gleaner Writer
Pastor Zebulah Aiken.
Pastor Zebulah Aiken.
Members of the foundation, Donna Clarke  (black left) and Charm Wolfe preparing care packages.
Members of the foundation, Donna Clarke (black left) and Charm Wolfe preparing care packages.
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Members of the Free Town Church of God of Prophecy Outreach Foundation in Clarendon are being lauded for their commitment to charity and service. Grateful seniors and students were gifted with care packages at the foundation’s annual Christmas treat last Friday.

Christine Brown, a resident of the neighbouring Rose Hall community, said: “This church gives in any way they possibly can. I appreciate the church and what they are doing. This is not the church I attend anymore, but they don’t segregate (discriminate); they just help everybody.”

“Mrs [Cecelia] Livingston is a people-oriented person. She seek out wherever she can seek out and give to the less fortunate, and that I appreciate her for that. She’s always in the making, in the know, and looking out for the less fortunate,” Brown said of one of the foundation’s director.

Christopher Bailey, a single father raising his four-year-old daughter, expressed gratitude for his gift. He said this year was particularly challenging and it was a blessing to receive the things that he did.

A TIME FOR GIVING BACK

Dr Zebulah Aiken, a director and also the pastor of the church, citing the Yuletide season as a time of giving, said she was pleased to bring cheer to residents of the southeastern Clarendon community.

“Christmas really means giving because, according to us as church people, we know that Jesus Christ came at this time and He gives His life for the world, so therefore we believe in giving,” Aiken told The Gleaner.

Aiken said it is important to show the love of Christ in tangible means. “What’s the use of preaching to someone, telling them God understands they are hungry and in need and He will supply, without making the effort to be His ‘angels on earth’?” she said.

Children in and around the community are given donations at least twice a year, courtesy of the foundation founded over 20 years. In September, some 20 students were gifted tablets, with the foundation having to source additional ones for them; and three others received scholarships valued at $20,000. According to Aiken, the church is mandated to enact change in the lives of children, and to instil in them a spirit of charity.

“We need to cultivate in the minds of the children that giving is important, so from now, we are trying to nurture them into giving,” she told The Gleaner. Aiken said, however, that the COVID-19 pandemic has dampened the spirit of Christmas, having disrupted their usual plans for the children.

“During this time we always have bounce-a-bout, trampoline and all sorts of things for the children. But because of all the restrictions, we could only give them what they’re supposed to be getting and they go through the gate. It is really sad. I see that as distancing ourselves from the type of relationship that we used to have, but I pray that the time will come when we’ll be able to come back together again,” Aiken said.

Aiken told The Gleaner that despite financial challenges, the foundation was able to honour their annual give-back project with the help of kind donors, including Food For The Poor, the Clarendon College class of 1983, and through the support of their fundraising events.

Aiken said their next project is to see the completion of a homework centre on the church grounds.

“Free Town is becoming one of those troubled communities and we want to grab the at-risk youth before anything happens; and for the students, the online learning is a challenge and some of them are far behind,” she said.

The foundation is appealing to the public to assist in the completion of the building. You may contact the Free Town Church of God Outreach Foundation at 876-358-7997 or ftcogopfl@gmail.com.

olivia.brown@gleanerjm.com