JIS News

Children of Bethany and surrounding communities in North Manchester, recently received a special Christmas treat from community stalwart, Josephine Clarke.
The youngsters, many of whom are students of the Bethany Primary and Junior High School, which is in close proximity to Mrs. Clarke’s house, enjoyed a fun-filled afternoon, which saw them being thoroughly fed, before being presented with individual gift packages, bearing all the cheer of the festive season.
According to Miss Jo, as she is affectionately called, “it is better to give than to receive.”
Indeed, for this 95 year old woman, who is a mother to the entire community, sharing has become a way of life. Throughout the course of the year, she constantly gives to the children, whether it be something as simple as ice, water, lunch, or a cup of tea. The adults too have also benefitted from her generous spirit.
“I’ve been doing this for over 20 years and each year it gets bigger. I am so pleased to see the children. I love them all,” she stated enthusiastically.
“It came to my attention, whenever Christmas season is approaching, I won’t see the children again until next year. They come they eat with me, they attach to me so much that whenever school give holiday I miss them. So one evening I said to them, come and let us sing Christmas carol. Some of them came and I had it on my verandah. For years I had it on my verandah. They come and they read the Christmas story and I give them something to eat, I buy ice cream and give to them, so from then I take it as an annual thing,” she added.
Meanwhile, Miss Jo’s daughter, Jennifer Campbell, informed JIS News that it gives her mother immense pleasure to provide for the children in this manner each year. For this reason she travels to the United States each year, where she shops for the children, handpicking each gift with the greatest of care, as her little friends “deserve only the best.”
“It is better to be with the children of the community than to be with her own children. We can see the joy in her eyes, and the pleasure it gives her when she undertakes this sort of activity on a regular basis,” Jennifer stated.
For the children and adults who journey to Miss Jo’s house for the annual Christmas treat, it is an event to anticipate each year.
“We love Mama Jo very much, and we would be very disappointed if she did not keep this treat for us,” said one child, Kirk.
“I promise them next year, if the Lord gives me health and strength, I will, I will,” Miss Jo assured them.