NEGRIL, Westmoreland - The Rotary Club of Negril has donated a brand new Toyota Hiace bus valued at US$41,000 to the Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Church in that resort town, which will provide a school bus service for children in the area under the 'Get Kids to School' programme.
Funding for the vehicle — which was presented to Father Jim Bok, Priest of the Negril-based Mary Gate of Heaven Catholic Church at a brief ceremony last Friday — was provided by the Rotary Club of Negril and Rotary Clubs of Grapevine in Texas.
"The bus will provide a safe, efficient and reliable way of getting kids to school, the students of Mount Airy All-Age School in particular," said President of the Rotary Club of Negril Ken Cooney, at the handing over ceremony.
"We actually started doing some lessons with the children until one day we said, what we actually need to do is get the children into the schools where they belong. They are all registered with a school but couldn't afford food and transportation," he explained.
Father Bok in thanking the Rotary Club for the donation underscored the need for a good education.
"There is nothing more important than getting our children an education. This contribution is about raising human dignity and addressing the needs of the people and to making Negril a better place," he argued.
As part of the initiative, the Rotary Club of Negril has also partnered with St Anthony's Soup Kitchen which provides 200 persons--including children — in the Negril area with hot meals three days per week.
Member of Parliament for Western Westmoreland Wykeham McNeill also lauded the Rotary Club of Negril for their selflessness in seeing to the needs of the nation's children.
" This is really a commendable mission that the Rotary Club and Father Jim has undertaken. Assisting our children to get a good education and a cooked meal are two of the most important things anyone can do to help to save the children of Jamaica," he emphasised.
Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar and councillor for Negril Bertel Moore also commended the Rotarians for their significant contribution to the 'Get KIids to School' programme.
" I am really proud to see the step that the Rotary Club has taken to provide this bus for our children and I want to say to the children that you must take care of it," he said.