Students from north soon to get healthy breakfast through YWCA breakfast programme
From the start of the next school term the YWCA will extend the reach of its Breakfast Club by 30% to include students from the north of the island, thanks to CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.
CIBC FirstCaribbean, which last year visited and donated over $40,000.00 to the club to assist in its providing breakfast for a term, has now entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the YWCA through its Comtrust Foundation which is responsible for charitable donations. The MOU solidifies the bank’s commitment and relationship with the YWCA for three years to the tune of $60,000.00.
The funds will be used to expand the breakfast club to the parishes of St. Lucy, St. Peter and St. Andrew, increasing the number of students receiving breakfast daily from 1,000 to over 1,300. The club in the north will be run as a “meals on wheels” operation enabling faster distribution of breakfast to children through a packaged breakfast.
President of the YWCA, and bank employee Paige Bryan, explained that the non-governmental organisation had conducted a test run in the north of the island to determine the feasibility of extending the programme. “Based on this we saw a need to extend the breakfast club but we had to cap our numbers until we received additional funding. Now with CIBC FirstCaribbean’s further commitment we are able to extend our reach further.”
In thanking the bank for its contribution, Mrs. Bryan added: “We are very grateful for the bank’s assistance. CIBC FirstCaribbean approached us and we’re heartened that a corporate entity would seek us out. The programme is costly to run and requires a lot of manpower so their contribution is greatly appreciated.”
CIBC FirstCaribbean CEO, Rik Parkhill, said the bank was pleased to formalise a three-year relationship with the YWCA after the initial contribution and visit it had made to the Breakfast Club last year. “We were impressed by what the YWCA is doing and, after our initial donation last year, we saw the need to cement our assistance through a three-year grant and agreement. The bank, through its Corporate Social Responsibility programme, provides support to a number of initiatives benefitting young people, with a particular focus on education.
The Breakfast Club positively impacts students and their learning and we thought it important to continue our assistance particularly with the challenging economic environment.”
In noting the impact of the Breakfast Club Mrs. Bryan said, “We saw that children were going to school without breakfast, and without being fed you can’t concentrate at school. We’ve spoken informally to school representatives who say the children are now more focused. This anecdotal evidence is heartening and a formal survey will be done by next year.”
The Breakfast Club, which began operations in 2007, employs three full-time kitchen staff and one volunteer in the kitchen, with additional volunteers serving breakfast.