Rainforest Caribbean and Musson Foundation have partnered with Project STAR to launch a school feeding programme in downtown Kingston.
The Future Stars Early Childhood School Feeding Programme (Future STARs), initially targetting four schools located in East Downtown – Real Success Basic School, Calabar Primary School, Higholborn Street Basic School, and Parade Gardens Preparatory School – officially launched last Thursday (February 16).
Saffrey Brown, project director of Project STAR, said the initiative is aimed at improving attendance at schools and easing the burden on parents who often struggle to provide for their children.
Brown said the programme involved the donation of basic food items to the school. These food items, she said, will assist in providing both breakfast and lunch to the students.
Mariephil Riguard, principal of Higholborn Street Basic School, in welcoming the initiative, said she was grateful that her institution was selected as one of the participating schools and that the students will benefit from the initiative.
“We are overly excited that we have been chosen as part of this initiative as some children have been absent from school due to financial reasons but, through Project STAR’s school feeding programme, they are able to return to school and not miss a day,” said Riguard.
Janet Henry-Hayle, principal of Parade Gardens Preparatory School, expressed gratitude for the initiative which she said will go a long way in improving school attendance.
“I’m excited and happy as this will be a great benefit to us and we are very grateful. It will improve attendance as there are times parents can’t afford to give the children lunch money. But knowing that they can send their children to school and that they can get a hot meal, they are appreciative,” said Henry-Hayle.
Bethany Young, marketing and communications manager at Rainforest Caribbean, said the organisation was proud to be supporting the Future STARs School Feeding Programme to ensure children from the schools are fed so that they can take on the school day.
“As a leading food manufacturer and distributor, we know the critical role that food plays in nourishing young bodies and minds, a programme like this can positively impact education outcomes in the long term. As a dedicated corporate citizen, we saw it as our responsibility to get on board to assist with this very important initiative,” she explained.
Lisa D’Oyen, executive director of Musson Foundation, said her organisation has been working in communities since its inception in 2013.
“One of the ways that we have always supported our communities is by providing monthly, ongoing food donations to children’s homes, primary schools and other educational institutions. We decided to join Project STAR and donate to the Future STARs school feeding programme to play our part in setting the foundation for learning. It has long been known that when children are well-fed and nourished, they are more likely to be engaged in their education and develop a love of learning,” she informed.