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Many of the people assisted by the Jamaica Twinning Program Group live in shanty towns, such as this one in Maggotty, Jamaica.

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Medical volunteers from the Jamaica Twinning Program Group from the Abington area gather at the Holy Spirit Medical Clinic at Maggotty, Jamaica, where they recently traveled to assist patients. From left: Nancy Menapace, R.N.; clinic nurse Sister Gabriella; Dennis Dawgert, M.D.; Bonnie Blasé, R.N.; Tana Cacciamani, R.N.; and Diane Vietz, C.R.N.P.

It’s a chance to help others while experiencing another culture.

A special fundraiser will help ensure future trips to Maggotty, Jamaica, where members of the Abington-based Jamaica Twinning Program Group travel to help the town’s more than 1,200 residents, many of whom live in abject poverty. The Jamaica Twinning Group is run in conjunction with a twinning program sponsored by the Passionist order of priests.

On Sunday, Feb. 23, a turkey dinner will be held in the Gathering Room at Our Lady of the Snows Church, 301 S. State St., Clarks Summit. Tickets are $15 a person, presale only, and will help support the people in Jamaica.

Clarks Summit resident Bonnie Blasé, who recently returned from a week in Jamaica at the Holy Spirit Medical Clinic in Maggotty, explained that the program has already helped build a school, church and medical clinic in town.

Blasé is a registered nurse by trade and recalled an experience with a patient that taught her just how different conditions there are from those back home.

“The people come to the clinic on foot and it is uphill,” she said. “While I was there, a woman came who had a huge laceration on her upper thigh. She had fallen. She carried her five-month-old baby with her. She walked home after a tetanus shot and a half hour of surgery. She came back the next day for a check-up. We did the best we could, but it is not like our medicine here.”

Besides assisting medically, the group has also helped beautify the nearby Mt. Calvary Retreat House. This year, the group painted a community room, six bedrooms, four bathrooms and several outside areas. They also made plumbing repairs in five bathrooms.

“You don’t have to do big things to do things,” said Grace Dawgert who, along with her husband, Dr. Dennis Dawgert, participated in January’s trip. “People are so nice; they are glad you’re there. We’re just there to make things beautiful for the next person to come.”

To reserve tickets for the turkey dinner, call Our Lady of the Snows/Church of St. Benedict’s rectory at 570-586-1741.