Whilst browsing online recently I came across an advertisement for an enterprise called ‘The Bus Stop Mission’, based in Salem, Runaway Bay, Jamaica. Intrigued by the accompanying images I clicked the link to see what it was all about. I was so inspired by what I was reading that I reached out to them to see how I could get involved and help spread the word. So here it is! I am really pleased to introduce them to you all and to tell the story of Sweet Jamaica and The Bus Stop Mission ‘Sunchimes’.
What is The Bus Stop Mission all About?
The Bus Stop Mission is a charitable organisation that provides a time exchange service for Jamaicans who have no employment, and as an alternative to begging. They have a variety of tasks that can be carried out in exchange for vouchers, which are redeemable in the discount shop, or which can be used for inclusion into the various programs that they run. Adults and children can earn food, clothing, toiletries and school supplies to fulfill an immediate need, by creating the most beautiful hand-made crafts from recycled materials. These hand-made creations are then offered to local gift shops for sale, so that the profits can be used to buy more craft materials and to (re)stock the Discount Shop. I really think this is such a wonderful idea, creating employment opportunities where there are none and using recycled materials is good for the environment too – double bubble!… and Totally Genius!
Mission Statement of ‘The Bus Stop Mission’
The Bus Stop Mission will provide training and opportunities for people to learn that they are greatly blessed and their time, talents, and resources are a blessing, which can benefit themselves and others.
Most people who don’t have food to eat or clothes to wear, do have time to share. The Bus Stop Mission offers an alternative to begging. We offer low-cost food, school supplies, necessities, and classes to help you stretch your dollar as far as it will go. Those who don’t have the money to afford what we offer can trade their time and/or talents for store and program vouchers.
Our classes and activities are offered to teach new skills and help each student recognize the value of their own time and talents.
We are located at the Stop Light/Bus Stop in Salem, Runaway Bay p.o. St. Ann, Jamaica– Each Day is a Gift from God, how we use it should honor Him!
How Does The Time Exchange Program Work?
The best part is that everyone is welcome to come to the Mission to exchange their time for goods or educational courses. Adults are invited to stop by the Mission to work and be involved in learning a new skill in a social and happy environment where they can earn items they need from the Discount Shop. Mothers are welcome to bring their young children with them to the Mission and can work for diapers, baby clothes and food, while their children play in a fun and safe haven. School age children can turn up before or after school and on Saturdays, before joining the Saturday Camp activities after 11:00am, where they can work towards a voucher to be redeemed for items from the shop, or a weeks worth of school lunches.
What ‘Tasks’ can be Carried Out on the Time Exchange Program?
The main activity and the one I am most excited by is the making of beautiful and original ‘Sunchimes’. These glistening, twinkling beauties are crafted using recycled tumbled (sea) glass, craft wire and beads artfully strung from a piece of wood. They are designed to not only look beautiful but also to sound beautiful. As the breeze hits them they make the most soothing and mood enhancing sounds that add to the eye catching and decorative looks. The beauty is that everyone who makes these ‘Sunchimes’ is known as an ‘Artisan’ and deservedly so. They provide a creative outlet for the artisan making the Sunchime and they are welcomed to include their name and age (if they are under 18) on the tag, so that they can get recognition for their work.
If you or anyone you know would benefit from this scheme, just turn up at The Bus Stop Mission and join the Time Exchange Program to earn vouchers too! Please pass on this information to others if you feel they would benefit from the scheme too.
There is a variety of tasks you can perform if you don’t want to make the Sunchimes, which include:
- Sweeping, raking or picking up trash
- Working in the vegetable garden
- Collecting and cracking almonds from trees on their property
- Sorting, washing, mending, ironing or folding clothes for the Discount Shop
- Collecting glass bottles that can be recycled and used for crafts
- Assisting with the making of meals for our kids lunch program and our wobye meal program wobye = work for the bread you eat
- Mentoring or tutoring a child in the homework help program
- Making crafts that will be sold in their shop or to craft vendors around the island
- Teaching or assisting with a Saturday or evening class
- Assisting with their Saturday youth program or movie night
Please Note: Each task will be assigned a voucher amount. No cash is offered. Voucher amounts for each task will be determined based on a reasonable time expectation for completion of that task.
The Bus Stop Missions’s Discount Shop
The discount shop provides low-cost necessities to the community, including food, clothing, toiletries, shoes, school supplies and basic work tools. Used clothing and shoes will be the main items available in the Discount Shop. This shop is the primary income source to support all other aspects of the Bus Stop Mission. The major operating expense is the cost of inventory and shipping for items sent from the United States, as well as the salary of their employees. (100% of all money remaining after expenses are paid is used to support the other projects of the Mission).
Available Courses at The Bus Stop Mission
The Bus Stop Mission also offers a range of low-cost, fun, hands-on, night and weekend classes that can be exchanged for vouchers. The courses include:
- Sellable crafts
- Child care
- Basic accounting and money management
- Swimming lessons
- Kayaking for beginners
- Snorkeling for beginners
- Basic reading
- Basic maths
Giving a Donation to The Bus Stop Mission
If you wish to make a donation to The Bus Stop Mission, they have this list of items that they would be happy to receive and that would assist in the daily running of the Mission. These items can be brought directly to The Bus Stop Mission, in Jamaica, or sent to Mission Control at: 16795 State Route E, Rolla, MO 65401,USA; where it will be shipped to Jamaica in their next shipping container.
This list of needs has been copied directly from The Bus Stop Mission website:
“For The Bus Stop Mission to achieve its goals we ask, (we need) your prayers, your time, your talents and your unwanted or unneeded items.”
- Glass Bottles – These will be used to make a variety of crafts. Even broken glass of unusual color or pattern is welcome
- Plastic shopping bags – We crochet these into mats
- Newspapers – To cover our tables when making crafts
- Outgrown or unwanted clothing – These will be sold in our discount shop. (and yes we need belts, clean underwear, bras and socks)
- Shoes – While school is free in Jamaica, every child is required to wear a school uniform including black or brown shoes (not tennis shoes) There are no cheap school shoes available in Jamaica and one pair can cost a weeks wages.
- Books – We have the greatest need for children and teen reading books. (It is hard to develop a love of reading if you don’t have a single book.)
- Home & Kitchen necessities including sheets, blankets, pots, pans, utensils, etc.
- Folding chairs
- Beach towels
- Masks, fins and snorkels
- clothes washer
- clothes drier
- 2 burner gas stove
- Solar panels
- sewing machine
Volunteering with The Bus Stop Mission
If you would like to contribute some of your free time and skills to others, then why not think about volunteering? The Bus Stop Mission is seeking volunteers, and values the hands-on assistance. Their mantra is that ‘ Your time is a blessing and we would be blessed to have your assistance in any of the following areas ‘:
- Sort, wash, iron, or mend clothing
- Help at out Saturday Kids Camp
- Help keep the grounds clean
- Help at our Movie Night
- Assist a child with his/ her homework
Assist with or teach one of our classes. Can you teach others to:
- Count money
- Weave a basket
- Make a craft
- Be patient with children
- Use a computer
- Perform basic math
- Recognise basic words
Sweet Jamaica and The Bus Stop Mission Join Forces…
I am really pleased to announce that I am joining forces with The Bus Stop Mission through my sister company LonJam Trading. We wanted to get involved a help the Mission with their on-going fund raising and employment opportunity scheme by becoming a stockist of the ‘Sunchimes’ and the other craft items that they make. The sale of these items serves two important roles, firstly it enables the Mission to continue offering work opportunities to unemployed Jamaican’s and secondly the money raised through the sale of these items pumps back into the Mission to keep the Discount Shop stocked and to buy more craft materials…. And so the circle continues.
I would really appreciate if you could help me to support the Mission by browsing through the selection of the most beautiful and unusual ‘Sunchimes’ that I have on offer. These beauties are a real talking point and make an ideal decoration to hang where the breeze and sun will catch them, as they sound as good as they look. They also look beautiful hanging on a wall, tree, outdoor garden structures, veranda’s, decking, ceilings and more. Why not get creative and share you pictures of places you have hung them in your home? These items come directly from the Jamaican artisan’s hands and each piece is individual and original, so no two pieces are the same. Act fast to get the piece that you love the best, as once it’s gone, it’s gone! You can help to raise funds for this amazing enterprise by getting in touch with me if you wish to buy one of the pieces I have on offer and by spreading the word to others who may be interested.
Thank you! Bless Up Yourself!
Sunchimes For Sale!
If you would like to help support The Bus Stop Mission you can buy a Sunchime from me! Click the link to my Facebook Page, or check out the next post, to view the images. The retail prices are:
- 9 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at: JA$6,000 Or, £33.50 Or, US$50.00
- 7 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at: JA$4,800 Or, £27.00 Or, US$40.00
- 5 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$3,600 Or, £20.00 Or, US$30.00
- 3 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$2,400 Or, £13.50 Or, US$20.00
- 1 Strand Sunchimes – Priced at JA$1,200 Or, £7.00 Or, US$10.00
Please Note: These prices are NOT including postage. Please send me an email with the #Number that you like and I will give you a price for postage and packaging to your worldwide address.
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Keep the Conversation Going…
Send me your inquiries below, I look forward to hearing from you to support this worthy cause. Have you bought a ‘Sunchime’ and want to share a photograph of how you have displayed it? Get in touch below we look forward to hearing from you…