Facts About Our Work in Jamaica

Jamaica, the first country assisted by Food For The Poor, partners with more than 5,000 churches and institutions for the distribution of food, medicine, educational supplies and other needed items.

  • Food For The Poor has built, replaced or expanded more than 250 schools
  • 1,310 housing units were constructed in 2017
  • We work with 27 orphanages caring for 593 children

More About Our Work

Jamaica was the first country assisted by Food For The Poor, which began helping the island nation in 1982. In 1983, Food For The Poor-Jamaica was established and is now the largest charity organization in Jamaica. The office and warehouse complex is located in Spanish Town, at the intersection of five highways, which leads to all parts of the island. Food For The Poor partners with more than 5,000 churches and institutions for the distribution of food, medicine, educational supplies and other needed items. Food For The Poor has completed hundreds of projects in Jamaica with a focus on education, medical, housing and agriculture. In 2017, the ministry shipped 703 tractor-trailer loads of essential supplies to Jamaica.

Education

  • In 2017, Food For The Poor 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. The school building project started in 2012, when the organization embarked on a very ambitious goal to build 50 schools in 50 months in honor of Jamaica’s 50th year of independence.
  • More than 250 schools have been assisted by projects that have built, repaired or expanded schools island-wide, a Food For The Poor initiative to improve the educational system and provide access to a healthy learning environment for students.
  • The ministry continuously provides schools with furniture, supplies and sports equipment.
  • 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 such as greenhouses and chicken coops.
  • In 2017, Food For The Poor provided assistance to 700 students so that they can attend school through its annual scholarship program, which provides funding for school fees and books.
  • Through a partnership with the government’s Ministry of Education and local corporations, modern bathrooms have been built to replace pit latrines in schools island-wide.
  • More than 600 computer stations have been donated to schools, homework centers and other underserved neighborhood institutions every year.
  • In 2017, a total of 56 students were trained to play a variety of musical instruments, including drums, saxophones, flutes, trumpets, clarinets and trombones. More than 20 marching band sets are distributed annually to schools and community programs aimed at reducing inner-city violence by engaging youth, giving them hope for their future.

Housing

  • In 2017, through the generosity of the donors, Food For The Poor has constructed 1,310 housing units. Since inception, the charity has built 43,435 housing units island-wide.
  • The houses are equipped with indoor sanitation facilities, solar-powered lighting and a gas stove. There’s also a loft space for greater sleeping capacity.
  • Food For The Poor holds an annual 5K Walk/Run fundraising event in Kingston to help provide homes for the destitute and has built 56 homes through this local event.

Agriculture and Fishing Villages

  • Food For The Poor’s agricultural development program has been essential in safeguarding food security and in helping small farmers, fishermen and institutions to become self-sufficient.
  • The ministry provides thousands of farmers with seeds, hand tools (pitch forks, shovels, etc.), gas-operated water pumps and tillers. Inner-city communities, schools, orphanages and other institutions also receive help with producing crops and livestock for food and profit.
  • Food For The Poor established its first fishing village in Jamaica 16 years ago, providing local fishermen with boats and engines, fishing gear and storage facilities. The program now has 15 firmly established fishing villages around the island with 56 boats. The charity continues to train fishermen to improve their techniques.
  • In 2017, Food For The Poor assisted more than 100 farmers and institutions across the country in establishing bee-farming projects. The production of honey allows farmers to harvest a quality product to sell.
  • Food For The Poor continues to delve into agriculture technology by providing greenhouses for crop production. In 2017, Food For The Poor 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, which are helping the disadvantaged, and for churches ministering to those in needs.
  • Food For The Poor has successfully introduced aquaculture production into its portfolio of projects by introducing the Pangasius species (also known as Basa) as an alternative low-cost protein. The ministry has been instrumental in improving spawning techniques to provide fingerlings.

Food Distribution

  • Nearly 350,000 Jamaicans are fed each month through 44 distribution centers.
  • Each year, Food For The Poor teams up with the Salvation Army to provide a Christmas celebration for the indigent and homeless in Kingston. In 2017, Food For The Poor-Jamaica provided more than 2,200 meals during the holiday season.

Orphanages and Children’s Homes

  • Food For The Poor’s Angels Of Hope program works with 27 orphanages that care for 593 children.

Medical

  • In 2017, Food For The Poor constructed a health clinic to serve the rural community of Castleton in St. Mary, and plans to build additional health clinics in rural areas throughout the country.
  • Medicines and other medical supplies are provided to clinics and hospitals across the island. Durable medical equipment supplies, including walkers and wheelchairs, are provided to needy recipients and lifesaving medical equipment is provided to hospitals.
  • Food For The Poor’s Our Lady of the Poor Clinic caters to more than 9,000 patients annually.
  • Two annual health fairs are held in Kingston and Westmoreland to provide free healthcare access to more than 1,500 children and adults.
  • Food For The Poor 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

  • Food For The Poor’s Prison Ministry Program was established in 2003. Through the program, the ministry assists in freeing and reintroducing nonviolent prisoners back into the community. During the Easter and Christmas seasons the program releases inmates who have committed minor offenses. Since the inception of the program, a total of 711 men and women received their freedom.
  • More than 7,000 ex-inmates have also benefited from the “Fresh Start Program” that provides assistance with profitable jobs, such as welding, carpentry and farming. These new releases are supplied with a source of income and are discouraged from repeating their offenses.
  • Food For The Poor 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, children of inmates, and holds an annual summer band and monthly band sessions for struggling youths.
  • Interventions in 2017 included the construction of an educational center, to improve the literacy of inmates prior to their release from prison.