Bronx church honors community stalwart

Pastor Robert McBarnett presents award to Garnes Byron flanked by members of St. Matthias Charities, Inc.
Garnes Byron

The Bronx-based St. Matthias Charities, Inc. recently honored prominent Vincentian community stalwart Garnes Byron during the church’s 7th Annual Fundraising Dinner Gala at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center in Brooklyn.

The church’s Vincentian-born pastor Robert McBarnett told Caribbean Life afterwards that Byron was recognized for his “continued commitment to the organization.

“For the past seven years, Mr. Byron has worked with the organization behind the scenes by donating sneakers, slippers and other valuable items to those in need and less fortunate,” he said. “For the past seven years, at every event, he has assisted with the presentation of the video clips for our viewers to see what their contributions are doing for the less fortunate.

“Mr. Byron was very humble in his acceptance speech,” Pastor McBarnett added. “He promised to continue working with the group in whatever way he can. He said whenever he hears the word ‘St. Vincent and the Grenadines’ sign me up.

“Mr. Byron’s passion is to continue giving back to his homeland. “Honoring Mr. Byron was the right thing to do,” McBarnett continued. “It is important that we recognize individuals who continue to give back and make a difference in other people’s lives.”

In acceptance speech, Byron thanked Pastor McBarnett and his team for “the great humanitarian work they are doing for St. Vincent and the Grenadines and neighboring Caribbean islands by bringing comfort to the poor and needy.

“As the good book says, ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive,’ and that’s why I give willing and unselfishly of my time,” Byron said. “I want to thank my friends and family for being here with me this evening.

“Once again, I thank you for the recognition and look forward with working with St. Matthias Charities, Inc.,” he added.

Pastor McBarnett described the fundraising gala as “a success.”

“The event was well attended,” he said. “There were returning supporters and newcomers. The organization shared various video clips of its missions in 2018.”

During the June 2018 mission, McBarnett said his organization donated a dental chair, four crash carts and an EKG machine. The EKG machine was donated to the Union Island Hospital in the southern St. Vincent Grenadines.

He said the group also donated the following to the Ministry of Health and local communities: wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, commodes, canes, bath chairs, adult pampers and medical supplies.

During the December 2018 mission, Pastor McBarnett said St. Matthias Charities, Inc. donated two electrocardiogram (EKG) machines to the Ministry of Health for distribution to the Stubbs Clinic “and the other where it is needed.”

In addition, the philanthropic group donated a medical examination table and four stretchers to the Ministry of Health.

Twenty-eight cases of books and a laptop computer were also donated to the Dickson Government School to start a library program for the school and the community.

McBarnett said more than 400 toys and gifts were handed over to the Stubbs Nine Morning Committee for distribution, as part of its Christmas Program for the children in the village.

Additionally, he said “a large volume of food” was donated to the Ministry of Health for an ongoing food program.

McBarnett also said over 100 cases of pampers were donated to the Mental Health Clinic, the Louis Punnett Home for the aged and various communities.

“This is what your donation does for the people of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada and a few other Caribbean islands,” he told patrons. “One hundred percent of all donations goes directly towards the charities and various programs.”

Pastor McBarnett said his organization is “on track” for its next missions in St. Vincent and Grenadines on Aug. 24, 2019 and in Grenada on Oct. 28, 2019.

On these two missions, he said his organization will donate food, adult pampers, five crash carts and stretchers, wheelchairs, crutches, canes and walkers, among other medical supplies and goods.

Jamaican gospel artiste Caswell Daley and Vincentian evangelist La Fleur Durant brought the house down with gospel music during the gala dinner.

St. Matthias Charities, Inc.’s next fundraising event will be a barbecue, on July 13, at the Friends of Crown Heights Educational Center, 1435 Prospect Pl., Brooklyn.

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