Jamaica Observer / RESTAURANTS of Jamaica (ROJ) has provided $4.5 million to further boost the operations of the Government’s school-feeding programme, which will supply an additional 1,500 meals for students. The funds will facilitate the provision of meals for the remainder of the academic year, which ends in June 2018.
The money was officially handed over to Nutrition Products Limited (NPL) during a ceremony at the National Heroes’ Circle offices of the Education Ministry on Wednesday.
Portfolio Minister, Senator Ruel Reid welcomed the donation, noting that it will significantly help to fill gaps in the feeding programme, particularly at the early-childhood level.
He noted that the initiative, which represents good corporate citizenship, will go a far way in advancing the ministry’s effort to provide greater support to students in need of nutritious meals, many of whom depend on the State to provide the only substantial meal they receive daily.
The minister said this partnership with ROJ will ensure that more children attending school are provided with the appropriate nutrition that will improve their educational outcomes.
Minister Reid also praised State Minister in the ministry Floyd Green, who requested assistance with boosting the programme to support more children, for forging the partnership with ROJ.
For his part, Green noted that the ministry has been working to expand the scope of the programme, by increasing the number of products that are provided in the system.
“That is why this injection will help us to do just that… We’re now going into the final semester of the year, and this will enable NPL to roll out more products,” he said.
In the meantime, ROJ Marketing Director Tina Matalon said the entity’s support to the school-feeding programme is “a small but worthy contribution… which will make a difference in providing the nutrition that (children need)”.
“We don’t think any child should go to school hungry. We do believe that all children need proper nutrition and proper meals to be able to learn. As an organisation that feeds the nation, we want to make sure we do our part to feed the students,” she said.
Matalon further informed that this support represents the first step in the Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) Jamaica ‘Add Hope’ initiative.
Add Hope is an international initiative by KFCs parent company, Yum International, which collects donations in-store to fund meals for undernourished children.
Matalon noted that the ROJ is currently in discussion with the education ministry to launch a second phase of the programme in September 2018. The second phase will enable KFC customers to donate part proceeds from select menu items towards the school-feeding programme.
NPL, which is responsible for the production and distribution of meals to schools under the national nutrition programme, currently provides approximately 300,000 students in more than 800 schools with breakfast and/or lunch each week.
They include youngsters on the Programme of Advancement through Health and Education (PATH), and others deemed vulnerable.