I read recently in The Gleaner that expatriate Jamaicans are a leading source of foreign exchange for the island, and that most of the money comes from the United States nowadays.
In addition to funds sent to relatives back home, Jamaicans abroad open their wallets and handbags to support charitable causes and disaster relief efforts.
The best known group in America is the Jamaican Diaspora, but there are also smaller groups that play an important role in supporting their homeland.
The Jamaica Committee is one of these groups, and its upcoming Pineapple Ball offers an opportunity to help needy Jamaicans while you have a terrific time. The ball is planned for Saturday, Oct. 4, in the Ritz-Carlton Grand Ball Room at Rose Hall, near Montego Bay. It’s one of these all-expenses-paid affairs and includes a gourmet meal, open bar, cabaret performance, dancing, a silent auction of juried Jamaican art, vacations, jewelry, crafts and so on.
Contributions are $150 (U.S.) and are tax deductible as the Jamaica Committee is a U.S.-based 501 (C) 3 charity. There’s an added benefit: The Ritz-Carlton Golf and Spa Resort is offering special room rates to guests at the ball.
According to Jacky Shepard, one of the organizers, the group “begs everything and distributes everything to a variety of charities with the emphasis on education.”
Shepard said the committee graduated their first UWI student last year, and helped to send several Jamaican computer whizzes to compete in the Microsoft Imagine cup in Korea last year.
*We generally do things that the larger charities forget to do,” Shepard said. “And after 10 years we have a host of charities that are reliant on our contributions every year. Our motto is enjoy making good things happen and we, and all our supporters, do.”
So, if you want to have a great time (you know how we Jamaicans can get down!), and enjoy that warm feeling you get when you support a deserving cause, plan to attend the ball – or better yet, get a group together and make a weekend of it.
For tickets, contact Jackie at [email protected]