by Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Despite the economic and social challenges he experienced, some of Delroy Escoffery’s most joyous times were formative years in Franklin Town, a rugged community located in the east end of Jamaica’s capital.
For the past nine years, the Greenville, South Carolina-based philanthropist has given back to the area, assisting students at his former school with educational supplies. The latest donation took place there on August 20.
Through his Youth Of The World Foundation (YOW), Escoffery gave over 500 children at Franklin Town Primary School, and Thornton Primary and Infant School in rural St. Elizabeth parish school bags, pens, pencils, sharpeners and books.
Escoffery attended Franklin Town Primary while his wife Natasha — who is also a member of YOW — is a past student of the Thornton schools. The Escoffery’s were accompanied to Jamaica by Pastor Ken Lindsey and his wife Dee, who like them are members of the Relentless Church in Greenville.
The Lindsey’s, through their A Grace To Foundation, and Jamaican companies T. Geddes Grant and CB Chicken, were main contributors to the initiative.
Escoffery was a full-time artist manager and show promoter for 20 years before becoming a Christian in 2016. He stressed the importance of persons in the Diaspora reaching out to their hometowns.
“Sometimes people forget about their communities, so I encourage them to give back, even to come and talk to the kids and encourage them. It’s not where you are from, it’s where you are going,” he said.
Before gang violence and political neglect contributed to its erosion, Franklin Town was a middle-class area and home to many civil servants. Dunkirk, its most famous enclave, has produced dancehall acts including Spragga Benz and Wayne Wonder.
Spragga Benz, Red Rat and (currently) Minister Marion Hall are some of the artists Escoffery has managed. As part of AnchorMinott Inc, he and business partner Andrew Minott promoted major dancehall shows in South Florida during the late 1990s and early 2000s.