Ministering to the Poor – the Bishop Boyle Outreach and Resource Centre
Quietly and without much fanfare, the Bishop Boyle Outreach and Resource Centre in Mandeville, Manchester has been working to make life better for the poorest of the poor in Jamaica. As the Outreach arm of the Catholic Diocese of Mandeville, the Centre has been ministering to those most in need in the parishes of Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth. Funded mainly by generous donors in Jamaica and abroad, and by partnering with Food for the Poor, they build homes, provide start-up funds for micro-enterprises, and support the education of children through their Scholarship fund.
The Scholarship programme is one of the more recent initiatives of the Diocese that has been designed in response to the challenges faced by many students. Already this year, a number of families have been identified, where the illness or death of a parent, unemployment, underemployment or accident has created undue hardship in the home. These challenges are resulting in children being frequently absent from school due to their inability to access funds for transportation or lunch. In addition, many do not have the basic school supplies needed for them to function in the classroom. In order to help in alleviating these burdens, the Fund was set up to assist the affected children with food, transportation and school supplies, thereby increasing their chances of success in school.
The micro-enterprise project is a partnership with an organization in Owensboro, Kentucky called Pilgrims of Hope, who have been providing the funds to assist persons with livestock farming, baking, small grocery shops and other businesses.
Since 1999, the housing ministry has provided over 1500 homes to families in need. In addition, a large number of individuals and institutions have also received partial assistance in rehabilitating their homes or other buildings.
The Bishop Boyle Centre is ably managed by Mrs. Hope Wood-Salmon. You can find out more about the work of the Centre and the Diocese of Mandeville at http://www.mandevillediocese.org