The Northeastern Conference Adventist Youth and Young Adult Ministries (NEC AYM) is dedicated to making a difference in the lives of people in their community. Through its Compassion Ministry, youth and young adults are deliberate about being the hands and feet of Jesus. In the fall of 2022, God provided some non-traditional avenues for NEC AYM to make an impact in the community. After receiving the green light and support from Abraham Jules, Northeastern Conference (NEC) president, and the NEC administration, AYM forged a partnership with Bed Bath & Beyond in Manhattan. The store generously supplied NEC AYM with more than $10,000 worth of goods to distribute to the city’s underserved, and God wasn’t done yet! Upon learning of the initiative, a local CubeSmart company donated six months of free storage, allowing the group time to manage and distribute the donations.
The Bronx-Manhattan Youth Federation was ready to take on the project. The NEC AYM office worked closely with Chee Daniel, the federation president, and Elizabeth Perry, the compassion coordinator, to organize, pick up, catalog, and identify qualifying recipients. NEC Adventist Community Services (ACS) provided the truck for the first pickup. Many volunteers helped with loading, unloading, and providing transportation, including Kenny Laguerre and Wensley Brevil, Franco-Haitian Pathfinder coordinators; Philip Perry from STRIVE Ministry; Maranatha French church pastor Smith Olivier; Janet Blake, Ebenezer church ACS director, and her team.
Bronx-Manhattan Federation officers distributed the products to two local organizations. The first was a shelter for mothers and infants seeking help from domestic abuse. The women referred to this location are either pregnant or have just given birth. The location is kept confidential for security reasons. The second organization was the Convent Avenue Family Living Center. It has four locations that provide emergency housing and comprehensive social service programs to families displaced by fire, natural disaster, or eviction. Convent Avenue also has an on-site after-school program for children ages 6-13. The residents were grateful for the donations, but some were initially hesitant to take the products because they could not believe they were free. The Federation officers gently assured them that the cookware, blankets, curtains, and other household items were indeed free for them to take.
“We are grateful that NEC youth and young adults could take service to another level by partnering with four community organizations, two companies, and two shelters,” says Paula Olivier, Northeastern Conference Adventist Youth and Young Adult Ministries director. “While it took months of planning, working through red tape, and collaborating with multiple parties, the youth and young adults rose to the occasion, persevered, and made an impact in the lives of several families in the name of our Savior. ‘For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,’—Matthew 25:35 (ESV).”
Youth and Young Adult Ministries staff, Northeastern Conference