Source: Jamaica Observer
Motivated by Christ’s famous miracle in which he used five loaves and two fish to feed 5,000 people, 18-year old Jordon Bennett is aiming to feed a similar number of homeless Jamaicans.
In carrying out the ambitious mission, he has started a non-profit organisation called: ‘Feeding of the 5000’, with the tagline ‘Young Jamaicans helping Jamaicans’.
Already, some 1,500 people living on the streets of Kingston have been fed by the organisation, since its launch in April 2012.
Bennett’s charitable work has, however, not gone unnoticed as last month he received the Youth in Service Award at the Prime Minister’s Youth Award for Excellence 2012 held at Emancipation Park.
“It was such a great honour to know that a country has seen what you are doing and appreciate it…I really didn’t expect any of this and I am grateful and I just have to keep humble and give God all the thanks and praise,” he told JIS News.
The Northern Caribbean University (NCU) student says he has always had a passion for helping people, which dates back to his days at Kingsway High School in Kingston.
He recalled that he sold $20,000 worth of sweets to help fellow students who could not afford graduation costs.
“It is something that I always wanted to do. I always had that passion to give back,” he said.
His mission to feed the multitudes started April last year when the young Rotary Club member decided to forgo an Easter vacation overseas and devoted the time organising a feeding programme for homeless people in Kingston. His team of young volunteers distributed some 250 lunches to persons in different locations of the city.
“We went out to different communities. We mainly targeted the inner-city communities and we had assistance from the police, my friends and three family members and we went out and we served,” Bennett told JIS News.
At first, Jordon says he was thinking of a one-day event but plans changed after the overwhelming support from his friends and donations from private sector organisations.
The enthusiasm led him to come up with the organisation’s name, which was printed on the back of T-shirts to promote the activity. His friends later suggested the idea of posting the pictures on social media.
“After that, I got so many messages and realised that there were many people interested in giving back and I got so excited and I thought, ‘wow’ let me plan to do something more,” he said.
His work was quickly recognised, thanks to exposure on Facebook and the electronic media. With help from his friends and a few organisations, which came on board, Bennett said he arranged a second event on December 23, when he fed about 1,300 persons.
“We had a lot of support that day from the volunteers. We went out in the morning and then went back in the night, because there was so much food,” he recalled.
The youngster, who has high praise for the many donations received from the volunteers as well as sponsors, Jamaica National Building Society, Continental Baking Company Ltd, and Big Jo, said “it was such a great feeling. It was a big success”.
While sharing the meals, Bennett says he always tries to show love to the people he meets and insists that his colleagues do the same.
“I emphasise on that love because that is what sticks with them. The food is just there for an hour or two, so when we go out we show them love and show that we appreciate them and understand whatever they are going through,” he said.
The youngster, who is pursuing a Bachelors of Business degree, majoring in marketing, admitted that organising the meals can be stressful at times, especially nearing his examinations, but said he remained dedicated to the effort. “I just say it is my passion… so I just look at it in a good way,” he stated.
Currently, Bennett and his four-member organising committee are spearheading plans to raise funds for another feeding in December this year. “It should have been in April but because of the lack of funds we’ll be doing one in December,” he said.
He added that this time the organisation will not only be feeding street people in the downtown and Half-Way-Tree areas, but in other communities on the outskirts of Kingston.