Mt Zion gives back to the community at Christmas
Mt Zion AME kicked off the Christmas season a little early this year.
The Southampton Church held "A Day of Giving" on November 24.
Rev Jahkimmo Smith and his wife Lashonna said the idea for the community outreach initiative was ignited after the church made its final mortgage payment in October.
“In 2014 Mt Zion took out a loan in order to purchase a property adjacent to the church. The loan was due to be repaid in full to the bank by January 2024. In October of this year, we were blessed to pay it off early.
“Out of a sense of tremendous gratitude to God, we wanted to do something tangible to express our gratitude as a church. Our leadership team got together and we decided that best way that we can do that is by having a day of giving.”
It was their idea to take the money they would have normally used for the monthly mortgage payment and use it to bless families in the immediate community.
“We decided that we would use the money we normally send to the bank and increase it to $10,000 in order to purchase gas, Belco and grocery vouchers. These vouchers would then be given out to people as a random act of kindness,” Mr Smith said.
Groups of volunteers gathered at three locations to distribute the gifts – Port Royal Gas Station, Heron Bay MarketPlace and Somerset MarketPlace.
“At each location we introduced ourselves to people as being from Mt Zion and that we were having a day of giving and wanted to simply be a blessing to them. Then we handed them a voucher and card with our church information on it.”
In addition, vouchers were given to families of students at Southampton primary schools Heron Bay, Port Royal and Dalton E Tucker.
The good deed was met with surprise and gratitude.
“Some were moved to tears saying that the voucher came at the perfect time. This gave us the opportunity to talk further with people and in many instances pray with them and encourage them,” Mr Smith said.
The membership at Mt Zion have been quietly helping those in need for some time.
In November the church sponsored 100 meals for staff at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital who have been working on the frontline since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“All of this and so much more that we do out of the public eye is made possible because of the faithfulness of God and the faithfulness of the membership of Mt Zion,” Mr Smith said.
“At Mt Zion we believe in being a blessing to others and so in these times of great socio-economic stress, we choose to share joy and a tangible symbol of God’s love and care for people. I often tell our church that we are blessed to be a blessing.
“This day of giving gave us another opportunity to once again live that out.”