Anglicans Helping Families in the Gambia

Seated front left are The Rev’d Dr. Amy E. Richter, and standing is her husband The Rev’d Dr. Joseph S. Pagano. Seated on the front at the right is Emmie Penney. Standing in the back are Colleen Harris, Joseph Hillier, and Carol Parsons.
Seated front left are The Rev’d Dr. Amy E. Richter, and standing is her husband The Rev’d Dr. Joseph S. Pagano. Seated on the front at the right is Emmie Penney. Standing in the back are Colleen Harris, Joseph Hillier, and Carol Parsons.
By on June 1, 2021
Photography: 
Woody King
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Despite the copious amount of distance from St David’s Anglican church in Pasadena, NL, to the Gambia, the smallest country in West Africa, there is a connection between the two.

A former Mayor of Pasadena, William (Bill) Pardy, made the transition to the Gambia some years ago and took up residency there. What he saw in the West African country was not appealing to him and he wondered to himself many times over, “What can I do to improve conditions for the children living in the area?”

The Gambia has no social assistance programs and families struggle to survive. This densely populated country has very limited resources, and they rely heavily on the tourism industry to meet their basic needs.

Since the arrival of COVID-19, the tourism industry has collapsed. COVID-19, however, is not the greatest fear in the Gambia. The greatest fear is starvation.

Life in the Gambia is very fragile: child mortality is also high with many young people dying, and most of the elderly population having a relatively short life expectancy.

Bill Pardy has been using his own limited personal resources to help about 30 Gambian families with children, and is now spreading his story in hopes of building on what he has been doing.

Bill has kept in close contact with his work colleagues in Pasadena since leaving the area, and is quick to give an update on the progress that he’s been able to achieve.

One of Bill’s close contacts is Emmie Penney of Pasadena. Emmie is a business person who has a penchant for helping others, especially when it involves children. When Emmie heard about Bill’s story, she too knew that she had to play a vital role in helping destitute Gambians.

She immediately devised her own plan and was confident that things would work in her favour. She knew who to call upon in times of urgency.

Emmie approached our Community Cares Online Auction Group. This is a group consists of a mom, dad, daughter, and best friend that are devout Anglicans and affiliated with St David’s Anglican church, and have been in the same bubble over the last year.

Emmie donated a plethora of inventory from her business to be auctioned off and the proceeds given to those needy children.

After the week-long auction concluded, the Community Cares Online Auction Group had received just over $3000 in donations. Thanks also go out to bidders, buyers, and people who contributed.

Thanks to the work of the Community Cares Online Auction Group, who normally do auctions to raise monies for different groups, charities, and people in need. They’re a selfless group who really cares about others, and gets very little in return, other than the satisfaction of knowing that they are doing God’s work.

This is undoubtedly a great example of the Mark of Mission # 3: to respond to human need by loving service.

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