Young people from the Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands wanted to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of people who visit the local soup kitchen in Frederiksted during the Christmas season. Members of the youth Sabbath school class donated from their own pockets and collected other donations in the amount of US$750.00 to provide food to help feed the needy who regularly visit My Brother’s Table Charity soup kitchen.
“The Sabbath School Class has been looking for opportunities to reach the community,” said Vanley Pilgrin, the class teacher. “We started with three recommendations for community outreach but, because of restrictions, we were fortunate that My Brother’s Table gave us the opportunity to share.” Class members were asked to make donations in order to lend assistance to the humanitarian project.
The My Brother’s Table soup kitchen is a hub where individuals can stop for a free meal and enjoy the company of others. For a few hours, people chat with acquaintances, network, are treated with dignity despite their lot in life, and can depart with renewed self-confidence.
“We distribute 60 to 70 meals every day. It’s real good food and it’s the best food in Frederiksted,” said Hyacinth George, assistant chef at My Brother’s Table. Along with Rosemarie Carty, the head chef, they prepare and distribute meals to all who pass through the establishment daily. Carty thanked the donation from the Adventist Church as the goods were delivered.
Carty added, “Every day from 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., those in need can stop by and receive a meal. Since COVID-19, the meals are prepared for take-out but that does not stop people from enjoying the meals. On the street, they live a pretty tough life and they look forward to lunch here – it is a safe, consistent place to sit down and eat.”
“The donation by the youth Sabbath school class was [increased] by the Adventist Youth Department in order to maximize support for the initiative,” said Sigorney Dorsey, the Adventist Youth director of the Central Adventist Church. “It’s about making sure our community sees that we care and are connecting with the needs that are all around us.”
Pastor Thomas Rose, leader of the congregation at the Adventist Central Church in St. Croix, commended the youth of the church for reaching out. Rose encouraged members to continue getting involved in community service.
“This year, we will be launching our community impact initiative and named it Caring Beyond The Pews@CentralSDA,” said Rose last month. The program will begin on Feb. 25, 2021, and will run every fourth Thursday of each month. “We will be preparing and serving a hot meal and distributing care packages to the needy, the poor and street-people, as well as opening up our facility for the day where individuals, who want to, can come in, take a shower and get fitted with clothing from our community department.”
The church had built a Community Services Center for that purpose but the coronavirus pandemic delayed the project plans, added Pastor Rose. “This particular project inspired our church to take the role and mission in this part of the vineyard, to reevaluate the calling and look more seriously at going beyond the pews.”
The community center has a large commercial kitchen that will begin to be used to feed dozens of people each month.