Facts About Our Work in Jamaica

Jamaica was the first country assisted by Food For The Poor (FFTP), which began helping the island nation in 1982. In 1983, FFTP-Jamaica was established and is the largest charity organization in Jamaica. The office and warehouse complex is located in Spanish Town, at the intersection of five highways, which lead to all parts of the island. FFTP partners with more than 1,300 churches and institutions for the distribution of food, medicine, educational supplies and other needed items. The charity has completed hundreds of projects in Jamaica with a focus on education, medical, housing and agriculture.

Since the start of 2021, the island nation was slammed with two tropical storms (Grace and Ida) which damaged critical infrastructure and agriculture, thereby creating a perfect storm as the country continued to grapple with the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and the medical infrastructure.

Since the first case of COVID-19 in March 2020, FFTP responded quickly when COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, became a pandemic. By mid-March, FFTP began their immediate response to the pandemic by airfreighting hygiene and protective ware to the island nation.

Current COVID -19 stats (as of 2.14.22)

Total Cases       127,054
Deaths             2,739
Vaccinated    1,334,176 (25.7% received at least one dose; 21.6% have been fully vaccinated)

  • Families living in poverty have been hit especially hard by the coronavirus.
  • From the inception of the coronavirus pandemic in Jamaica, FFTP established various food and hygiene programs to address food insecurity because of COVID-19. The charity has distributed packages to over 15,000 families across the island serving approximately 60,000 individuals, while still maintaining distribution of critical resources to a network of churches, missionaries and other institutions who provide food and other goods to tens of thousands island wide.
  • FFTP continues to assist schools in their effort to open by providing rainwater reclamation and storage projects, wash stations and additional classrooms structures.

Aid:

  • In 2021, FFTP has shipped a total of 485 tractor-trailer loads of aid to Jamaica.

Education:

  • Since the start of 2021, FFTP built, repaired, or expanded seven schools. In 2017, the charity made history in Jamaica by building 100 schools in five years thanks to the generous support of its donors in the United States, Canada and Jamaica. FFTP completed construction of the following school projects since the start of the year:

Crooked River Infant Department
Prime Time Early Childhood Institution – additional classrooms with sanitation facilities
Rose Heights Basic School
Hart Hill Early Childhood Institution
Sunderland Basic School
Glendevon Infant Department
Ramble Infant Department

  • Since the start of 2021, a total of 15 water harvesting projects for schools were initiated and executed to increase the school’s capacity to secure water. FFTP-Jamaica additionally partnered with UNICEF to improve water, sanitization and hygiene in 19 schools located in high-risk COVID-19 parishes
  • A total of 312 schools have been assisted by projects that have built, repaired or expanded schools island-wide. FFTP continuously provides schools with furniture, supplies and sports equipment, creating a healthy learning environment for students
  • Schools regularly are provided with food to support breakfast and lunch programs. As a result, schools report increased attendance, better performance and greater student attention spans.  Additional nutritional support is provided through agriculture projects, including chicken coops, green houses and open-air vegetable crops.

FFTP assisted 139 students to attend school in 2021 through its annual grant program, which provides funding for school fees and books for students from pre-kindergarten to college. In 2021, two students were assisted with scholarships to medical school.

Housing:

  • In 2021, FFTP donors constructed 285 homes. Since inception, the charity has built 36,424 homes island-wide. The homes are equipped with indoor sanitation, solar-powered lighting, a gas stove and furnishings. There is also a loft space for greater sleeping capacity. FFTP has redesigned the houses to enhance the structural integrity and provide additional space with an improved layout.  Homes now have the added benefit of a kitchen sink and cupboards.

Agriculture and Fishing Villages:

  • FFTP’s agricultural development program has been essential in safeguarding food security and in helping small farmers, fishermen and institutions with income-generating projects.
  • The ministry provides thousands of farmers with hand tools (pitch forks, shovels, etc.), gas-operated water pumps and tillers. Inner-city communities, schools, children’s homes and other institutions also receive help with producing crops and livestock for food and profit.
  • FFTP established its first fishing village in Jamaica 22 years ago, providing local fishermen with boats and engines, fishing gear and storage facilities. The program has 15 firmly established fishing villages around the island with 54 boats. The charity continues to train fishermen to improve their techniques.
  • In 2021, FFTP equipped 31 beekeepers for a total of almost 360 beekeepers island-wide since the program was established. This income-generating project allows farmers to harvest quality honey.
  • FFTP continues to delve into agriculture technology by providing greenhouses for crop production and began to supplement the school feeding programs with vegetables grown by students to assist the schools in providing sustainable income.
  • Pig, chicken and goat-rearing projects have been vital in providing income for individuals and institutions that are helping the disadvantaged, and for churches ministering to families in need.
  • FFTP initiated the tree-planting program Fruits For The Poor. The charity collects fruit seeds and produces seedlings to distribute to schools, homeowners, and farmers.
  • In 2021, FFTP embarked on a new income-generating agricultural program to assist subsistence farmers to improve the quality and quantity of their yields. The program provides all equipment and supplies to establish a ½-acre farm and includes a rainwater harvesting, storage and drip irrigation system to assist farmers in providing water in the drier periods. FFTP partnered with RADA to provide in field-training aimed at improving farming techniques. This project successfully enabled farmers affected by Tropical Storms/Hurricanes Eta and Iota to re-establish their farms in a sustainable manner in the communities of Jeffrey Town, St. Mary and Mocho, Clarendon and is continuing to provide invaluable resources and training in Thatch Walk, St. Ann.

Food Distribution:

  • Approximately 350,000 Jamaicans are fed each month through distribution centers.
  • In 2020, due to COVID-19, the FFTP-Jamaica team took the initiative to bring food and hygiene packages to the neediest families island-wide. A special distribution takes place in December where the entire FFTP Jamaica team fans out across the island to deliver food packages to marginalized individuals in communities across Jamaica in celebration of Christmas.

Children’s Homes:

  • FFTP’s Angels Of Hope program works with 24 homes that care for 404 vulnerable children
  • In 2020, FFTP established the Muirton Boy’s Home and West Haven Children’s Home Water Projects that include water storage, a rainwater-catchment system and a water purification system that provides an additional 6,000 gallons of water storage capacity for each facility.
  • In 2020, FFTP established the Summerfield Child Care Agriculture Project, which includes crop production and an egg-laying hen coop.
  • In 2020, FFTP established the Melody House/Montego Bay Community Home for Girls Poultry Project.
  • In 2019, the Reddies Place of Safety, and the Salvation Army’s The Nest Children’s Home in Kingston, Sunbeam Boys Home and Yadel Children’s Home in St. Catherine received water-catchment storage tanks and filtration units.
  • In 2019, the Strathmore Gardens Children’s Home received broiler and layer-hen coops.
  • In 1918, Wortley Home opened its doors to vulnerable girls in Kingston. In 2015, the home was destroyed by fire. One hundred years after originally opening, FFTP built a beautiful two-story facility with the capacity to accommodate 32 girls, up from the previous capacity of 24. The facilities have two 16-bed dormitories, a sick bay, a homework and study room equipped with

Medical:

  • FFTP has constructed medical clinics across the island to improve the existing facilities and assist health care workers to provide quality medical care.
  • In 2020, FFTP initiated a program that continues to aid individuals in need of funding for medical procedures or equipment critical to save lives or improve quality of life.
  • In 2020, FFTP shipped 35 tractor-trailer loads of medicines, medical equipment and other medical supplies to clinics and hospitals across the island. Durable medical equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs are provided to needy recipients.
  • FFTP provides financial assistance to aid in the care of more than 200 occupants in the country’s largest residential facility for the sick and the elderly.

Prison Ministry:

  • The charity’s Prison Ministry Program was established in 1998. Through the program, the ministry assists in freeing and reintroducing nonviolent prisoners back into the community. Since the inception of the program, 743 men and women have had their fines paid.
  • More than 8,250 ex-inmates have also benefited from the “Fresh Start Program” that assists with profitable income-generating ventures, such as welding, carpentry, farming and tailoring. These new releases are supplied with a source of income and are discouraged from repeating their offenses.
  • FFTP also assists correctional institutions by providing monthly supplies of food, medicine and general items such as mattresses. 
  • The Prison Ministry division also branches out to assist youth clubs and children of inmates. The annual summer band and monthly band sessions was put on hold for 2021 due to COVID-19.
  • For Easter 2021, FFTP paid the fines of four nonviolent offenders and for Christmas, FFTP paid the fines of nine nonviolent prisoners. 

The population is approximately 2.8 million residents. The language is English, and Protestantism is its largest religion. The currency is the Jamaican dollar and the GDP per capita is $8,700.   

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