One year's supply of green bananas for John Mills

JP makes donation under Heritage Project

Sunday, January 20, 2019

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John Mills Infant, Primary and Junior High School became the first to be selected under JP St Mary's Heritage Project to receive a year's supply of green bananas free of cost from the company.

JP Tropical Foods announced late last year that in commemoration of its 90th anniversary it will supply locally grown green bananas to public educational institutions at only $5 per pound, supported by the JP St Mary's brand. The project will see green bananas supplied in the first phase to 20 schools, with a plan to extend the offer to health care facilities and registered charities.

It has since expanded the project to allow for companies to sponsor schools by paying the $5-per lb rate on their behalf, and started the ball a rolling itself with John Mills.

“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. [It] represents a bold initiative to lend major support to our nation's schoolfeeding programmes and the purposeful shift towards providing our children with healthy eating options,” noted Tara Goulbourne, commercial manager at JP Tropical Foods.

Acting principal of the school, Jean Reid-Anderson, called the donation one of divine intervention.

“In previous years we would 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 40-50 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 explained.

“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.

“We are very grateful that JP St Mary's has stepped up and donated bananas. We believe that God had sent an angel to save us. And we look forward to working with them so that our children will be healthier,” she continued.

Green bananas have a host of health benefits — high fibre content which reduces appetite and induces the feeling of satiety and fullness; high content of vitamins C and B6 which improve brain function in children; high potassium, which improves muscle movement, nerve and kidney function; and energy-boosting effects achieved through improving digestive health and lowering blood sugar levels.

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

“Banana is naturally healthy for our children. We look forward to making banana porridge and other banana related foods for our children that will enhance their well- being,” he said.

In an effort to reach all corners of the island, JP St Mary's is calling on corporate Jamaica to sponsor a school under the project.

“Whether it is for three months, six months, or the year, we invite companies and organisations to partner with us by sponsoring the Heritage Project in a public school they support or partner with,” stated Goulbourne. “Let us grow goodness together by ensuring every child can learn by providing proper nutrition.”



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