Tue | Sep 26, 2017

World Food Day | Food For The Poor helping to fight hunger in Jamaica

Published:Sunday | October 16, 2016 | 10:00 AM
Joan Duncan Foundation, in partnership with Food For The Poor Jamaica, handed over a greenhouse to Papine High School in May, which valued approximately $1 million. Here, Kim Mair (left), chief executive officer, Joan Duncan Foundation, holds one of the sweet peppers reaped from the greenhouse. Sharing in the moment are Mark Jones (centre), agricultural science teacher, and Audrey Deer-Williams, director, Joan Duncan Foundation. The greenhouse was constructed in July 2015 and is being used to educate the students in the subject of agricultural science.

Food is a basic human right. Yet many children in Jamaica go to school hungry.

Teachers and principals see this painful challenge every day as their students become inattentive or listless, with their heads on the desk. Some become sad or exhibit behavioural problems.

In honour of World Food Day, today, generous donors can help Food For The Poor provide nutritious meals to these children and give them hope for the future.

Food For The Poor is raising funds to build self-sustaining agriculture projects at four schools that can provide vegetables and protein for daily meals, enable the schools to sell what they grow and teach the students the importance of raising crops and animals for their own sustainability.

Each school will receive a greenhouse to grow

vegetables, chicken coops, chickens for meat and eggs, rice, beans and other food staples to supplement their feeding programme. In addition, 15 fruit trees will be planted on the school grounds to provide nutritious fruits.

The approach is already working with wonderful results at other schools in Jamaica. The schools are lowering their food expenses and generating income. At-risk students are gaining hands-on experience in learning about agriculture, which is prevalent in most Jamaican communities, and contributing to the passing on of traditions.

 

IMPROVED STUDENT ATTENDANCE

 

"We have seen improvement in students' attendance as a result of us being able to improve our welfare programme with produce from the farm," said Leighton Christie, principal of Papine High School in Jamaica.

"Students are very fascinated with the greenhouse because of the technology that goes with it," Christie added. "For the first time in many years we have seen a surplus in the account of the canteen mainly due to the savings we are able to make."

First established in 1979, World Food Day has been observed in almost every country by millions of people. The day was created to promote worldwide awareness and action for those who suffer from hunger and for the need to ensure food security and nutritious diets for all.

"We depend on the support of the private sector and our loving donors to help the truly destitute. By the grace of God, this organisation has helped thousands of Jamaican families in one way or another over the past 34 years, and this continued support is needed in order to help Jamaica's children have a chance at success in life," said Robin Mahfood, Food For The Poor's president.