Children from the northern parishes of Barbados may soon be able to benefit from having a healthy nutritious breakfast on school mornings compliments of the YWCA’s Breakfast Club and thanks to a generous donation from CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.

Gina Millington one of the Assistants who cook and feed the children every day engaging Rik Parkhill, Debra King, Head of Corporate Communications, and Donna Graham, Chief Auditor, in explaining how they prepare for the children daily.

While paying a visit to the headquarters of the YWCA’s breakfast programme in Deacon’s Farm, a number of CIBC FirstCaribbean officials joined CEO, Rik Parkhill, who handed over a cheque valued at $42,303.83 to Breakfast Club Coordinator Andrea Taylor. This is the amount required to feed the children for a term and means that the YWCA can now concentrate its efforts on finding support to expand the programme into the north of the island. For some time now, the Y has been receiving requests to expand the Breakfast Club into the north of the island, but has been unable to do so due to a lack of resources.

In the handing over the cheque, Mr. Parkhill noted that he had seen an article in the Barbados Advocate where the YWCA was receiving money for the programme and it piqued his interest.

On enquiring, he found out that there was a shortfall in the funds needed for the new term and to be able to expand the programme. He mobilised his team who committed some funds from the CIBC FirstCaribbean Comtrust Foundation to which he and his wife then added a personal donation to meet the shortfall which the Y required. He also wanted to see for himself how the programme worked and visited at 7 am to visit with the children while they were having breakfast.

CEO Rik Parkhill hands over the cheque to Breakfast Coordinator, Andrea Taylor, while Stephane Burke, District Manager-Retail Banking, Paige Bryan Treasurer of the YWCA, Mark St. Hill, Director of International Corporate Banking, and Donna Graham, Chief Auditor, look on. (CLICK FOR BIGGER)

Mr. Parkhill noted that much of the work of the CIBC FirstCaribbean Foundation concentrates on assisting young people and spoke of his bank’s commitment to maintaining its Corporate Social Responsibility programme even in the face of the economic challenges of the current times.

National Coordinator of the programme Andrea Taylor, who is also a volunteer and Board Member of the YWCA, explained that the programme started out with 30 children in January 2007 and has now expanded to 1000 youngsters from various schools around, who are fed every morning before going off to school.

She described Workman’s Primary, The Church of Christ the King, St. Mary’s Primary, Turner’s Hall Primary and South District Church as satellite centres where children are fed daily to ensure a nutritious start to the day. These satellite locations are serviced with supplies from the Headquarters in Deacons but also solicit help with supplies in their own areas.

Donna Graham, Chief Auditor, at CIBC FCIB engaging a youngster while he was having breakfast

She explained that there were also a number of children who collected the breakfast and headed to school both at the primary and secondary level and the Club prepared breakfast and delivered to a number of outlying schools.

Paige Bryan, Treasurer of the YWCA and herself an employee of CIBC FirstCaribbean encouraged Corporate Barbados to assist in the cause of helping the Y to help the children, and noted that research has found that after eating a healthy breakfast, children were more alert and parents were able to focus on other household needs knowing their children are being provided with breakfast. This leads to increased productivity, she said.

She further added that they were also seeing improved social skills as children were being taught how to use cutlery and other social graces, while attending centers.

The Bank has also committed to giving the programme $20,000 per year for the next three years.

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