Manchester native makes helping others her mission
January 13 to 17 saw Bishop Merlene Dennis, a New York-based Jamaican, making her annual trip to her homeland to distribute food and clothing to hundreds of poor and needy adults and children.
The Mile Gully, Manchester native was accompanied by a group of nine missionaries, including two of her daughters, for this trip.
They made various stops, including in Lowe River, Trelawny, at the New Vision Children's Home in Manchester, and the Summerfield Child Care Facility and Summerfeld Health Centre in Clarendon.
Some 300 persons benefited from more than US$10,000 worth of groceries, new shoes, clothing and toiletries.
Each grocery package contained items including cooking oil, flour, rice, sugar, canned vegetables, meat, toothpaste, bath soap and toothbrushes.
She also distributed crutches, defibrillators, adult diapers and surgical gloves to the health centre.
At Summerfield Child Care Facility, Dr Dennis told the girls: "It does not matter happened in your past or yesterday, it's where you end up tomorrow that matters. Keep hope and love alive in your hearts and God will take care of the rest."
The missionaries held individual talks with the girls, ages 13 to 17, and pledged to continue supporting them in meaningful ways.
The group also donated similar packages of food and clothing to the New Vision wards, and to some 50 residents from various communities of Chudleigh, Manchester, where people received a hot meal and participated in devotions.
"No matter what is ailing you physically or mentally, if you believe in the power of healing and your faith is strong, you will be healed. God has given me many miracles in my life, He has blessed me and laid it on my heart to do the same for others. So accept these little gifts from us today with love," Dr Dennis told the residents at a gathering in the community.
Last February, Dr Dennis delivered the second set of 10 beds that she has made a commitment to donate to the Mandeville Regional Hospital.
She decided to give 40 beds to the hospital where two of her children were born before she left Jamaica many years ago.
"It has always been my desire to give back to the hospital and to feed the hungry all over the world where my mission leads me," she said.
Dr Dennis, who also travels to Guyana, The Phillipines, St Vincent and other parts of the world to touch the lives of others, plans to deliver the remaining 20 beds to Mandeville Regional in October.