Rockhouse, TUI foundations lauded for care package donations
Peter Rose (fourth left), president of Rockhouse Foundation,presents a care package to Vaccianna Moseley (sixth left), principalof Green Island Primary, and Daphne Smith (fourth right), GreenIsland Primary PTA president, while volunteers look on.
... foodstuff valued at $30 million distributed since start of coronavirus pandemic

GREEN ISLAND, Hanover — Parents of students who attend the Green Island Primary School in Hanover, have expressed gratitude to the Rockhouse and Tui Care foundations for providing the school community with care packages on a biweekly basis.

More than 60 Green Island households, including auxiliary workers, families of students of the institution, have been benefiting from the benevolence of the foundations, which have been delivering packages containing food items such as rice, cornmeal, flour, sugar and canned products over the past seven months.

The Green Island Primary School community is the latest to have benefited under the initiative, joining eight other school communities in neighbouring Westmoreland.

To date, over 150 tons of foodstuff valued at roughly $30 million has been distributed to the school communities in the two parishes under the programme, which started just over a year ago.

Some 1,000 households have so far benefited under the initiative.

Green Island resident Monique Patterson, an unemployed mother of three, expressed gratitude for the biweekly food distribution programme, noting that “the care packages have done a great deal for me and my family.”

“Since a year now, I am out of a job. I don't know where to get a source of income from, but with this care package, I can ensure that my kids have a meal each month and stuff like that,” expressed Patterson.

Patterson was a waitress at a hotel in St James before she was laid off last May, just two months after the country initially closed its ports of entry due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She told the Jamaica Observer West that with three children under her care, all of them in school, she is finding it very difficult to make ends meet, stressing, however, that the foundations' initiative has somewhat helped to ease the burden.

Secretary of the Green Island Primary School Parent Teachers' Association (PTA), Amilyn Dennis Robinson, noted that with the pandemic and children at home, she is appreciative and looks forward to the biweekly packages.

“It is really difficult at times to provide what it takes to feed the children at home. So, I am very grateful for the foundations that are putting together these care packages every other week, and I really do look forward to getting a call and anticipating coming to collect because it is of much use to my family,” expressed Dennis Robinson.

Beverly Ricketts Graham expressed similar sentiments.

She stated that most times the packages are distributed at a time when “there is nothing in the house [to eat].”

Daphne Smith, Green Island Primary PTA president, was equally thankful for the donors and God for the assistance given during the pandemic.

“I know how rough it is. Some [parents] were working but because of the pandemic, a lot of places closed down. Many [parents] are not working any at all. They can hardly find their way out, but because of this programme which means a lot to them, the children and parents can have something to eat,” stated Smith.

Vaccianna Moseley, principal of the school, said, “The parents are indeed grateful because this is one less thing that they have to worry about.”

“The reality is that most of our parents in the area rely on tourism. The tourism sector is literally closed down. Farming is getting a beating because there is no money for persons to buy products as they used to. So, right now we are in a dire situation and being a third world country, I am sure that the Government is trying their best, but obviously, it is not good enough,” expressed Moseley.

The outreach programme by Rockhouse Hotel in Negril started in March last year with four schools in Westmoreland after the country recorded its first case of the COVID-19 virus on March 10. TUI joined the programme in October, resulting in the inclusion of four more schools, including Green Island Primary.

Apart from Green Island Primary, the other schools benefiting under the initiative are Bunch of Stars Early Childhood Institution, Little Bay All-Age, Broughton Primary, Savanna-la-Mar Inclusive Academy, Moreland Hill Primary, Revival All-Age and St Paul's Primary.

Peter Rose, president of the Rockhouse Foundation and part-owner of Rockhouse Hotel and Skylark Negril Beach Resort in Negril, said he is not aware of any other food security initiative across the island that “has sustained continuously for over a year, “but it was important for us to pivot to where the needs were, to the families that we work with and food security was the most urgent and significant one along with data for their children to do their online learning.”

Kennique Dewar, project coordinator for the initiative, said the love and appreciation shown by the recipients to the distributing team is amazing.

“It is just amazing as it relates to the love and appreciation for the food packages. They look forward to it every other week and we have been doing this consistently without a break,” stated Dewar, who noted that the love and appreciation shown motivates the team to continue with the initiative.

PATTERSON…this care package has done a great deal for me andmy family (Photos: Anthony Lewis)
DENNIS ROBINSON…I am very grateful for the foundations that areputing together these care packages every other week
SMITH… I know how rough it is
Vaccianna Moseley, principal of Green Island Primary School
BY ANTHONY LEWIS Observer West writer

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