Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Mason Hall gets a boost

Published:Friday | April 14, 2017 | 4:05 AM

Generous supporters of Food for The Poor gathered recently for ‘The One Event’ at The Colony Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida to raise funds for the building of a school in Mason Hall, Jamaica. More than 80 guests at the fundraiser enjoyed a cocktail reception, dinner, music and a silent auction featuring a variety of art, jewellery and musical instruments.

With proceeds from the gala, the charity will renovate and re-build the Mason Hall Primary and Infant School by merging eight Food for the Poor single-unit houses into one 1,728-square-foot building with a corrugated metal roof, spacious classrooms, a kitchen, a bathroom with shower stalls and a playground, all to ensure an environment that will foster learning and achievement.

Other donors have pledged funds to complete the project and fundraising for the school will continue. Rafe Cochran, one of Food For The Poor's youngest donors, was also recognised for his stellar work in helping others.

Angel Aloma, executive director of Food For The Poor presented 12-year-old Cochran with the ‘One For Change’ Award at the gala, recognising his past commitment to building homes in Haiti and to assisting in building a school in Jamaica.

“I am truly speechless and honoured to be here receiving this fantastic and amazing award. When I went to Food For The Poor headquarters in third grade, I was truly touched and needed to help the poor. I realised how fortunate I was and we all were and that I needed to help,” said Cochran who is a sixth-grader at Palm Beach Day Academy.

At nine, Cochran became one of Food For The Poor's youngest donors when he gave a donation to the charity to build two homes for families in Ganthier, Haiti.

The new Mason Hall Primary and Infant School to be built by the charity's compassionate donors will benefit 60 children ages three to six currently enrolled at the school. Older primary students will also benefit from less overcrowding.

“Infant schools are the backbone of the educational system in Jamaica because it is where young children develop their social skills and get the educational foundation needed to advance to primary school, which is equivalent to an elementary school in the United States,” Aloma said.

“Unfortunately, many of Jamaica's school buildings are dilapidated and are in need of renovation. Physical improvements to Mason Hall school will have a positive impact on the students and their families as well as staff. Food For The Poor is extremely grateful to our donors for their generosity,” she added.