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John Austin Baptist Church Welfare Fund

The Rotary Club of Bangor partnered with Learning Links International to provide funds to enable the John Austin Baptist Church in Penants to provide food parcels for the vulnerable and isolated, along with necessary personal medication, during the difiicult time of Covid lockdown in 2020. 

Rev Barrington Hood wrote to Bangor Rotary Club to say: 

"I would like to express the heartfelt thanks of the community in the Pennants District to Bangor Rotary Club for your generous donation. This has been the hardest time for our community which is in the deep rural hills of Clarendon. I know it has been hard for you as well in the UK. We send our best wishes to you all and pray for your safety.

Along with the donation from Mrs Millman and the Learning Links International team, this is enabling us to provide food parcels in June and July for 50 isolated and vulnerable in our community at a time when very little is able to be collected from our church community because of the Jamaican island wide Covid 19 restrictions.

The John Austin Baptist Church Welfare Programme is oversubscribed with a long waiting list. We are normally only able to support 50 people each month, so these contributions are very much appreciated. Packs of flour, rice and basic foodstuffs, bottled water for drinking and hygiene products are essential at this time. All the funds are being spent on these items and we are even able to provide items to a wider group. 

Our community is very economically disadvantaged as the traditional crops were sugar cane and citrus fruit.  The drastic changes made by the European Union blocked the historic export of our sugar and other products to the UK, and the resulting drop in demand over the past 20 years caused the closure of local factories and the decline of our agricultural industries. This area was also hit hard by a disease which has decimated the citrus crop.  As a result, most people still living in the area are subsistence farmers with little economic turnover. Sadly, our younger people are moving away to urban areas to try to find work.

It makes a great difference to us to know that we are not forgotten, and we have friends from overseas in Wales, sadly we are not able to receive much in the way of support from our Government, they just don't have the resources available.

We value the work done by Mrs Millman and her Rotary friends that is enabling us to build and strengthen friendships across the seas, and in my role of Chair of Governors of John Austin All Age School we appreciate the links with your school children in Bangor made by Mrs Millman and Yasus Afari.

I would also like to thank Rotary International, through the May Pen Club and your Club, for taking an active interest to explore ways to upgrade our local school. This has the potential to make a wonderful impact on our community here. The security wall and fence are already making such a difference. Thank you to the Rotary Club of Bangor for helping this happen.

I would like to pass my blessings to you all and give thanks to you for all your Rotary pursuits, as I know that you will continue to make a difference to people’s lives.  

Rev Barrington Hood
Minister of the John Austin Baptist Church
Pennants, Clarendon, Jamaica WI


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