Twenty years ago, when the members of the Street Lamp Ministries fed and ministered to the homeless in Bridgetown, they prepared approximately 30 meals and had to go looking for the homeless. Now, every Thursday, come rain or shine, the group prepares meals and feeds approximately 175 persons and there is usually a line awaiting them when they arrive.
This was disclosed by the Street Lamp Ministries Team when they visited CIBC FirstCaribbean recently to collect a donation to help in their outreach programme, because, in addition to the weekly feeding programme, they also prepare care packages as needed for those who have no home or work and no means of getting these items. The group usually supplies food, clothing, toiletries and other basic needs.
Street Lamp Ministries is a non-denominational volunteer group and registered charity (#831) which seeks to empower and support the moral and spiritual welfare of the homeless community and those in poverty.
Individual members of the group usually cook and then get together at the Calvary Moravian Church Hall to package out the meals for distribution. The meals are then transported to Heroes Square, where they are delivered to those in need around 6.30 p.m. every Thursday. Even during the pandemic curfew, members of the Streetlamp Ministries obtained passes to help feed the homeless.
When quizzed as to how they came up with the name, Bernadette Serieux explained that when they first started, there was one street lamp that worked by Heroes Square and the group used to serve the meals under that street lamp, the only light they had at the time.
On presenting the funds, Managing Director Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Donna Wellington commended the group on their sense of duty to helping others. “I really think that it is commendable what you do every single Thursday without fail and have been doing for the past 20 years. That is really looking out for your fellow man. CIBC FirstCaribbean is pleased to be able to help you with your efforts,” she added.
Vice President of the Group Jerome Gittens explained though they cater to 175 and sometimes more, these are not always homeless people, rather they are often persons who may be temporarily out of work or simply not able to make ends meet at a particular time. He added that the group also counselled many of those coming for a meal, assisted those with health challenges to find help, and those looking to set up small businesses were referred to agencies that could facilitate them.
He added that they were often heartened when some of those they helped returned to express appreciation and explain they had been able to move on and were in a better place but grateful for the support from Street Lamp Ministries, that was there in their moment of need.