With COVID-19 bringing about major disruption and dislocation to the lives and livelihood across Jamaica, Archbishop Kenneth Richards of Kingston asserted that their plight cannot be ignored.
It is critical, he said, to harness the creativity and goodwill of all, to make the necessary adjustments and sacrifice as Church and business community, to cooperatively rise to the challenge and do what is necessary and essential to remain in the service to people.
The capacity of various Church communities to continue their outreach ministries has always been dependent on the human and financial support of lay faithful, the Archbishop said in a letter dated June 1 to clergy, religious communities and the faithful. It was co-signed by government senator and business executive Don Wehby, Chairman of the Archdiocesan Finance Commission.
“Now more than ever we need this support, especially as those who are most vulnerable look to the Archdiocese,” he said.
Archbishop Richards said that the need for care packages has escalated while the Archdiocese continues to cover administrative costs such as salaries and building upkeep and utilities.
Hence, he said, his consultors and the Finance Commission have recommended that a COVID-19 Archdiocesan solidarity fund be established for responding to this urgent current challenge. The name of the fund is the ‘Love in Action Pandemic Relief Fund’.
“Therefore, we are calling on your generosity and creativity to enable the Archdiocese to assist local Church communities that cannot on their own survive and make provision for their outreach ministries.”
The Archbishop said that the Archdiocese has identified 870 families for care packages which it aims to deliver every two weeks for a three-month period. This would be a total of 5,220 care packages.
Each care package, he said, would include basic foods such as rice, cornmeal, flour, sugar, cooking oil, tinned sausages, sardines and mackerel, toilet paper, toothpaste, and bar soap. The average cost per care package is JA $5,000.
“We are asking for your sponsorship in cash or kind for these packages,” he said.
A pledge form with the details of bank accounts was attached to the Archbishop’s letter.