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Food For the Poor gives $5.3m in bursaries to 290 students

Published:Monday | September 15, 2014 | 12:00 AM

Two hundred and ninety students from all 14 parishes in the island have been awarded bursaries valued at approximately $5.3 million by Food For the Poor (FFP) Jamaica.

These were made in August in the chapel of the local charity organisation located in Ellerslie Pen, Spanish Town.

According to David Mair, FFP executive director, this is just one of several initiatives through which needy Jamaican parents and students have benefited from the offerings of his organisation.

"For the past 15 years, Food For the Poor Jamaica has been assisting students from all levels of the educational system with financial grants. We have been doing this because we view our investment in education as of utmost importance in grooming our children for future success in academia and life skills," Mair said in an interview recently.

"This year, a total of 290 students representing most parishes have benefited from back-to-school grant vouchers covering basic, primary, secondary level students and special students," Mair added.

He said the value of each student's grant varies and should help to offset the cost of textbooks and tuition fees.

Nordia Whyne, mother of five children, including 11-year-old twins and three other children ages 14, 12 and six, said she is extremely grateful for the assistance given to her by FFP.

"I cannot stop smiling. I am overwhelmed with joy and gratitude because of what Food For the Poor has done for my family. Last year, I received financial assistance for two of my children. This year, all five children have received help and I cannot put it into words how thankful I am," Whyne said, after she received five grant packages.

grateful for the assistance

Gifton Wright, a 16-year-old fifth-form student from Kingston College, who was among the recipients, said FFP has been assisting him with grants for the last four years and he is grateful for their assistance.

"I started receiving back-to-school assistance from Food For the Poor when I started grade eight. They have been helping me and my family ever since. I have three younger siblings and it is really hard on my parents to properly provide for us, so the help is really appreciated," young Wright said.

Food For the Poor Jamaica's operation first began in 1982 when goods were brought into the island through the Catholic Relief Service located at Emerald Road in Kingston. Since then, the organisation has managed to expand its offerings to needy and vulnerable Jamaicans through food distribution, health care, housing, social outreach, agriculture, prison ministry and contributions towards education.