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Churches join forces with charity

A hot, nutritious meal is something far too many of us take for granted, and several churches in the West End have now joined up with the Eliza DoLittle Society's Daily Bread programme in order to provide those much needed meals to those in need.

According to Margaret Ward, executive director of the Daily Bread programme, there are now three churches providing weekly meals to anyone who requires at Bright Temple AME in Paget, The First Church of God on Sound View Road, and Beulah Tabernacle on Beulah Lane, both in Sandys. Bright Temple opens its doors on Thursday nights from 6pm to 7.30pm, First Church of God on Tuesdays from 4pm to 6.30pm and Beulah on Thursdays from 6pm to 7:30pm.

“The dinners are open to the public anyone who needs a hot meal,” Ms. Ward shared.

While the feeding services at each of the churches is independent and unique, “Daily Bread supplies the food. Some of it is donated and some of it is bought.”

Much of the food is cooked by local chefs in their own restaurants, then picked up and delivered to the appropriate feeding centres.

“Almost all of the restaurants in the West End are involved,” Ms Ward shared.

Eliza DoLittle also provides training and assistance to the churches, particularly in the areas of safe food handling and people skills, to help volunteers at the churches better and more safely assist families in need.

In addition to the weekly meals offered by Bright Temple, First Church of God Sandy's and Beulah Tabernacle, other churches have begun to offer their services in conjunction with Daily Bread, including Allen Temple and Vernon Temple.

Allen Temple has been able to begin feeding around 60 seniors for lunch on Thursdays, delivering in the gap of Meals on Wheels. While Daily Bread provides Allen Temple with a high-protein meatless soup to serve each week, the church provides all its own food.

Vernon Temple is also offering a monthly lunch for seniors, serving around 100 seniors at a time, as well as providing a tutoring programme for about 18 children four nights a week, which also includes a snack and full dinner.

According to the Eliza DoLittle website (www.elizadolittle.com), the mission of the society is, “to help feed and otherwise care for needy people, in part by picking up excess fresh food and distributing it through drop-in centres across the island,” and their goal “is that nobody in the community we serve need go 24 hours without a nutritious main dish as well as having access to facilities for hygiene and neighbourly care.”

“We're trying to give [those in need] a hand up,” Ms Ward shared. They also help persons in need liaise with the the appropriate services to help with other needs. “We want to make sure people don't go hungry, but also reduce food wastage.”

The Society is looking to expand the programme across the island.

“It could be anyone, as long as they are committed to it.”

Students, PTA Groups, Sports Clubs, as well as churches are more than welcome to join in and open their own feeding centres, however, it is important that groups realise that people will grow to depend on the services provided and, therefore, must remain consistent. Groups wishing to work with the Daily Bread feeding programme will be required to receive training, but Ms. Ward also recommends that programmes not directly related to them do network with other nearby groups, so as to provide better coverage of services in a particular area.

The Daily Bread programme continues to require donations of bulk frozen items, as well as cash donations they do not provide a food bank but, as Ms. Ward shared, they are indebted to the chefs and volunteers that provide their time and skills to helping others.

For more information on the Eliza DoLittle Society, visit their website at www.elizadolittle.com, call 333-4483 or write to P.O. Box HM 2216, Hamilton, HMJX

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Published December 18, 2010 at 1:00 am (Updated December 17, 2010 at 8:28 pm)

Churches join forces with charity

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