Good Samaritan Inn: Touching lives on the streets
MORE than 300 of the less fortunate, including those who live on the streets in parts of the Corporate Area, have been benefiting from much needed attention at the 15-month-old Adventist-owned-and operated Good Samaritan Inn (The Inn).
The latest gift came on Sunday, when from as early as 9:30 am, The Inn – located at Geffrard Place, National Heroes Circle – was abuzz with activities with the setting up of a tent for free medical check-ups and prescriptions, food preparation, hygiene kits and also a stage and equipment for a concert organised and sponsored by students majoring in public relations at Northern Caribbean University (NCU).
Most of the more than 140 persons seen by doctors mainly from the Andrews Memorial Hospital suffered from diabetes and hypertension. The hospital’s Dr Zwadie March, who organised the clinic, was delighted to be part of the operation to help those who came.
“I am happy that I could give freely from by profession and I know God’s hand was with this whole operation today,” Dr March said.
“Most of the persons seen by the doctors are suffering from diabetes and hypertension and are in the age group of 45 – 65 years. A little less than half of those who came for check-ups came just to know if they were in [good] health only to realise that they are not so well. There were some with high cholesterol levels and some with minor acute illnesses such as sore throats and skin rashes. Based on the symptoms described, some had urinary tract infections. We were able to provide free prescriptions from donations from a number of pharmaceutical companies, which were dispensed by a pharmacist from Andrews.”
Said Pastor Adrian Cotterell, president of the East Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists (EJC): “We are delighted to know that we are touching lives on a weekly basis here at the Inn. As a church we want to let the beneficiaries of our work know that Christianity is a caring community. It is only by the grace of God that we who are here giving are not the ones receiving, and so we deem it our God-given responsibility to look after the well-being of those who are in need wherever they may be.”
Through the assistance of the Kiwanis Club of Kendall, South Florida, clothing and toiletries were given to each person. Members of the club were in Jamaica as part of a humanitarian effort to assist several schools, hospitals and charitable organisations.
“The Inn is not just about feeding individuals. We provide devotion to enrich the spiritual lives of these individuals,” Cotterell added. “They are also provided with facilities for a bath and are able to do their laundry. Some of them have been fitted back into the normal routine of life.”
One such individual is Iva Forsythe, who having lost his two sons at the hand of the police, and who was himself deported from Dutch St Maarten in 1999, found that he had no one and nowhere to live. After being on the street in the daytime he would rest his head in a market in downtown Kingston. Today he is the caretaker for the Good Samaritan Inn, after successfully helping with its building expansion.
“I am glad to be off the street,” said Forsythe. “I thank the church for the help and support they have given to me. I am caretaker for more than a year now and I enjoy attending church right here on Saturdays.”
The Inn is operated by the EJC in collaboration with the Adventist Lay-persons Services and Industries (ASI), and for the past 15 months has impacted the lives of many street people. It started by feeding 50 individuals on Sundays and has grown to feeding an average of 200 persons on Sundays and Wednesdays.