PATH students get care packages just in time for weekend lockdown

FAMILIES of more than 200 primary school students in Clarendon and St Catherine, who are part of Government’s Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), were yesterday presented with care packages, courtesy of New Fortress Energy Foundation in partnership with Food for the Poor Jamaica, just ahead of the third weekend lockdown to help decrease spread of the novel coronavirus.

Tracey-Ann Campbell, a household helper whose third grade son attends Old Harbour Bay Primary, was excited when she collected her package. “I don’t even know what is in the bags yet, but look how much stuff I get. I’m so grateful, you wouldn’t even know. Thank you, thank you so much. Keep up the good work,” Campbell said as she collected her package.

Campbell said her children’s father is a scaffolder but things have been extremely slow for both since pandemic. “Now with the children at home since schools closed it’s been even harder, so I’m so happy that I was one of the parents who got called [for a package].”

Shelly-Ann Broomfield, whose son is in grade four at Good Hope Primary, said, “This will go a long way for us. I’m very thankful because it’s been very challenging. Thank you, New Fortress and Food for the Poor for thinking about us.”

Confirming some of the challenges that students and, by extension, parents and teachers continue to face, principal of Davis Primary School, Jason Bryan said: “It’s been a difficult time; even though more than 80 per cent of our students are online, many of them still have issues with their devices; a lot of them are either not working or not compatible. Food is also a big issue because the students are home and eating more, and when the parents are stressed the students are not able to focus, and this causes some of the teachers to be naturally stressed. It’s a ripple effect and we’re praying that it gets better soon.”

Verona Carter, vice-president at New Fortress Energy, said, “We are heartened by the reactions of these families. We know that coping through the pandemic has been very challenging for all of us, but especially for vulnerable families, where the economic dislocation and impact have been so severe. We remain committed to continue to serve and support Jamaica on its path to economic development and sustainability, especially in times like these when the help is most needed.”

The care packages include rice, flour, cornmeal, bun and cheese, beans, sausages and oil. They also received sanitary items, including toothpaste, toilet paper, bar soap, sanitisers and face masks.

“We’ve had the privilege of enjoying an amazing partnership with New Fortress Energy since the start of the pandemic last March, and we are moved by their heart of service and their commitment to helping the communities in which they have their operations. These care packages will go a long way in helping these families for a few weeks. We’re delighted to be part of another great corporate initiative for the benefit of feeding vulnerable families,” said Kivette Silvera, executive director at Food for the Poor.

The PATH students who benefited attend Old Harbour Primary, Old Harbour Bay Primary, Marlie Mount Primary, Blackwoods Gardens Infant, Good Hope Primary, Davis Primary and Marlie Hill, in St Catherine. In Clarendon, they attend Mineral Heights Primary, Mitchell Town Primary, Hayes Primary and Watsonton Primary.

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