Fri | Oct 22, 2021

Summerfield CDC looks to juice Digicel grant

Published:Tuesday | August 10, 2021 | 12:08 AMCecelia Campbell-Livingston/Gleaner Writer
Janet Foster (left), president of the Summerfield Community Development Committee, and Doreen Graham, secretary, are hoping their new juice-making venture will reduce unemployment in the Clarendon district.
Janet Foster (left), president of the Summerfield Community Development Committee, and Doreen Graham, secretary, are hoping their new juice-making venture will reduce unemployment in the Clarendon district.

Janet Foster, president of the Summerfield Development Committee (CDC), and Secretary Doreen Graham are hoping that a $200,000 grant given to them by Digicel will help to span a lucrative juice business.

With unemployment a big factor in the Clarendon community, Foster said the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the situation.

After “rocking their heads” to come up with a project that could generate employment, they reached out to the telecoms company.

“We asked for a grant to help us to see if we can open a little business to employ a few persons, so we looking to go into the juice business,” Foster told The Gleaner.

She said that the plan is to utilise the fruits of the season to turn out juices for the market.

The grant, she shared, would be used to purchase a refrigerator, blenders, and other utensils that will be needed for training sessions to be conducted by the Rural Agricultural Development Authority and the Social Development Commission.

“We want to move forward with the business so that we can employ more persons. We don’t have the funding that we can push off because what we get from Digicel is to facilitate the training, and we will have the appliances to keep after we are finished, which will help us with the business, but we need somewhere to operate from,” Foster said, making the plea for a container.

Foster, who points out that the community is low on economic opportunities, said many residents are in a crisis right now, and she is banking on the juice business to offer them hope.

Although anticipating a slow start-up as they don’t have the capital to pay for labour, she will be looking to committee members to volunteer their time and efforts to help the business to grow and eventually reduce the level of unemployment in the community.

“Club members are excited about the project,and I know it can work,” said Foster, confidently.

Thursday, August 12, will see the first training session, and for Foster, it is the dawn of new hope for them.

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