Over 2,000 students from five schools in St Elizabeth will receive joy from a donation to their school’s breakfast programme by Dr Joy Spence, Master Blender at J Wray & Nephew (JWN) Ltd.
The donation is part of the company’s “40 years of Joy” celebrations honouring Dr Spence’s legacy as she celebrates 40 years at JWN. Dr Spence is known for giving back and has made philanthropy a consistent part of her journey over the life of her career and so, JWN thought the best gift to her was a $20-million allocation to gift various charities.
A total of $550,000 in food supplies was donated to assist in preparing healthy meals for the students.
The schools that will benefit are the Braes River Primary, Glen Stuart Primary, Siloah Primary, Balaclava Primary and Maggotty High schools.
During her visit to the schools on Wednesday, May 18, Dr Spence shared why she wanted to make the donation.
“I have always observed the faces and expressions of the children while travelling to and from the Appleton Estate for work. With May being celebrated as Child’s Month, I wanted to work with JWN, through ‘40 Years of Joy’ to contribute to the feeding programmes at the five schools that I pass on my journey to Appleton. Afterall, children who have access to breakfast are more likely to participate during class and in physical activities.”
Launched in December 2021, ‘40 Years of Joy’ celebrates Dr Joy Spence, who joined JWN as Chief Chemist in 1981 and rose through the ranks to become Master Blender in 1997. Dr Spence not only became the head of the quality and factory operations of J Wray & Nephew Limited, but the spirits industry’s first woman Master Blender. Today, she remains one of a handful of women in the world to hold this prestigious position and is a global ambassador for Brand Jamaica.
In expressing appreciation to JWN and Dr Spence for the contribution, principal of Siloah Primary School, Oneil Larmond said, “Despite some of our students being on the path programme, most of the parents of the 528 students at my school find it challenging to provide food for their children. The financial difficulties were made worse by Covid and loss of jobs. So, we are very happy that the celebration of 40 Years of Joy in conjunction with J Wray & Nephew Limited could contribute the well needed funds to boost our breakfast feeding programme.”
Principal of Balaclava Primary School, Nichol Jackson said she was elated that her school was among those selected to receive a contribution from the 40 Years of Joy Programme. “Children cannot learn if their basic needs are not met, and with the pandemic taking its toll on family members who lost their jobs, we have tried to assist through our feeding programme, which not only provides breakfast, but lunch and dinner in some cases. So, we are grateful for this intervention.”
The first phase of the ‘40 Years of Joy’ project saw over $5 million donated to the setting up of “Joy to The World Technology Centres”, as well as the presentation of several technology-based learning material to students to assist with online learning, home-schooling, research, and educational online interactions.