20 schools to benefit from JP’s ‘Eat Well’ breakfast programme
The JP Group in commemoration of its 90th anniversary will supply locally grown green bananas to public educational institutions in a new National Feeding Programme.
Jamaica Producers (JP) has stepped up its island-wide effort to provide nutritious and affordable options for schools and enhancing nutrition education based on green bananas with the launch of its Eat Well with JP St. Mary’s Breakfast Programme
The launch held on Thursday at Pembroke Hall Primary saw over 230 students from grade 4 and 5 enjoy a hearty breakfast courtesy of the "Eat Well" with JP St. Mary’s initiative.
“This is the first in the series of the Eat Well the JP St Mary’s Breakfast programme. And what it really is, is a support initiative for the JP St. Mary’s Heritage Project,” noted Tara Goulbourne, Commercial Manager – Jamaica, JP Tropical Foods Ltd.
“We are going into 20 schools over the next three months. We will be taking over their breakfast programme for one day and showing them the benefits of eating green bananas by showcasing a variety of recipes.”
Chef Travis Hyman prepared JP St. Mary’s original recipe for Green Banana Porridge and Frank and Beans with boiled JP Green Bananas for the Pembroke Hall Primary students.
Tara Goulbourne (right), commercial manager, JP Tropical Foods, greets Retiring Principal and Teacher at Pembroke Hall Primary, Norma McNeil (left) during the launch of the Eat Well with JP Breakfast programme on Thursday at Pembroke Hall Primary. Breakfast was served courtesy of JP St. Mary’s through the Heritage project. Sharing in the moment are JP Group CEO Jeffrey Hall (second left) and Current Principal Ricardo Valentine.
According to Principal of Pembroke Hall Primary, Ricardo Valentine the support from JP was timely and impactful.
“We really appreciate JP coming on board to support our breakfast programme,” stated Valentine.
“The truth is for a student to be productive they need to have proper nutrition. And so JP coming here today and offering bananas at a heavily discounted rate for a year is indeed awesome. The $5 per lb green bananas will go a far way in enhancing our breakfast programme. In fact, that saving will allow us to feed even more of our children that cannot afford nor receive breakfast in the home. And so in the long run, when this is sustained, we are expecting to get better results as we will have children eating healthier and so they’ll be more productive academically.”
Pembroke Hall Primary School currently has 1100 students on a single shift system and Principal Valentine estimates that 37- 40 per cent of the students benefit from the breakfast programme.
“It is vital to us that the children are fed. It’s a mandate of the Heritage Project,” highlighted Goulbourne. “You have children, you give them the bags, pencils and books to help them learn at school, but if they aren’t probably nourished they cannot sit in a class and learn. So it’s so important that we ensure our children get breakfast every morning before they begin school so that they can focus. Our children are our future, they are valuable assets of our country and should be treated and cared for as such.”
Even though they are limited in space, Pembroke Hall Primary has an active 4-H club with a small farm and garden. So the children are actively engaged in some form of agriculture. However, Principal Valentine is concerned that many do not know what they are eating and where it all begins.
“Through the 4-H club we have banana, melon and plantain trees; cucumber and pepper trees and a few others,” noted Principal Valentine. “However, I took a few students with me to look at the garden and they could not identify the melon or pepper tree by itself and only one could identify the cucumber tree because a cucumber was on it. It is important that we get students to learn about the nutritious and natural foods available from the rich soil of our island. And once they know these crops and how they're grown, then they’ll be able to make better and healthier choices.”