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Jamaica Producers supplies school with bananas

Published:Thursday | January 17, 2019 | 12:00 AM
Tara Goulbourne (left), commercial manager, Jamaica Producers Tropical Foods, makes a symbolic presentation of a bunch of green bananas to John Mills Infant Primary and Junior High School recently. Receiving the gift are: Jean Reid-Anderson (right), acting principal of the school, and students Alex Bailey (centre), (from left) Dahlia Robinson, Moesha Morgan, Akayla Reynolds, and Nyhwalker Pinnock.

Jamaica Producers Group has further extended its efforts and resources to ensure that no child in Jamaica starts their day at school hungry by selecting neighbouring schools to become beneficiaries of the JP St Mary's Heritage Project.

Recently, John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School became the first school to be selected to receive a year's supply of green bananas free of cost through an extended initiative of the JP St Mary's Heritage project.

"As local farmers and producers, we wholeheartedly embrace our national duty to ensure that our children are nourished with the launch of the Heritage Project. The Heritage Project represents a bold initiative to lend major support to our nation's school-feeding programmes and the purposeful shift towards providing our children with healthy eating options," said Tara Goulbourne, commercial manager at JP Tropical Foods.

Green bananas carry a host of health benefits, inclusive of high fibre content, which reduces appetite and induces the feeling of satiety and fullness. It is rich in vitamins C and B6, which improve brain function in children; high in potassium, which improves muscle movement and nerve and kidney function; and boost energy levels by improving digestive health and lowering blood sugar levels.

According to acting principal of John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School, Jean Reid-Anderson, JP St Mary's donation is one of divine intervention.

"In previous years, we usually get nutri products from the Government, but since the start of this school year, it has dwindled down, and we are now getting water and sandwiches that can feed approximately 40 to 50 students. Those are given to the students at the infant level and those in grade-one classes. While we are thankful for the Government's efforts, most of the children remain hungry," Reid-Anderson said.

"A majority of the students come to school without breakfast, and you will find that many of those students stop to purchase a lot of unhealthy snack items. We are very concerned, and we want to put in place a programme that is more healthy for our children. As you know, it is highly unlikely for children to learn without food, especially breakfast."

Speaking at the official handover of the bananas to the school, Newton Hemmings, head cook at the school, said that he looks forward to preparing nutritious banana meals for the children.