PwC Jamaica partners, staff and the firm collaborated and contributed $500,000 JMD towards the creation of 100 care packages filled with groceries and treats for students in need at St. Michael’s Primary School.
The care packages were presented on Friday 17 December 2021 to students ranging from grades one to six. The packages contained starches such as crackers, pasta and rice; legumes; breakfast products such as food drink, cereal, rolled oats, instant hot chocolate, along with canned meats, vegetable oil and tomato ketchup. This was topped off with popular local snacks and a treat bag filled with chocolate and candy delights.
According to the Principal of St Michael’s Primary, Juliet Campbell McPherson, food has been the most urgent necessity for her students. “Right through the pandemic we tried to give them porridge and sandwiches when we could. And on the occasions that we couldn’t it was clearly devastating for the students. And considering that most of their parents are currently unemployed, whatever help or assistance we can get with food is the most important thing.”
Principal Campbell McPherson also noted that the overwhelming response from the school community has shown that the need addressed was indeed priority one.
“I’m telling you my phone has been ringing constantly with parents reaching out to say thanks. Some were shocked because they thought the kids were going to get toys and when they saw that they got grocery items, I’m telling you, people were grateful. My staff and I are also extremely grateful. And I’m sure this will allow students, who would have gone to their bed hungry for a few nights, to prevent the hunger pangs from coming on to them,” declared Principal Campbell McPherson.
Last December, PwC Jamaica gifted 65 tablets to St Michael’s Primary School, its adopted school, to aid in the transition to online classes. In similar fashion PwC Jamaica once again forewent the traditional Christmas Toy Treat and engaged the school regarding their most urgent needs.
“There is more than one way to spread holiday cheer,” stated Partner and Environment Lead at PwC Jamaica, Gail Moore. “And no one should go hungry, especially children.”
“There are so many children suffering from food insecurity and when we found out how great the need was at St. Michael’s, we had to respond and do something to ensure for at least the holiday season, that there wasn’t a child going to bed hungry,” concluded Moore.
St Michael’s Primary returned to face-to-face classes in the second week of November after getting approval from the Ministry of Health. The results of which have been positive for both the students and teachers. However, Principal Campbell McPherson noted that “although we were able to provide face-to-face classes, we have been unable to provide meals for our students due to limited funding.”
Despite the challenges faced, the students have remained upbeat and thankful as shared by Grade 5 student Dejanay Clarke in her vote of thanks on her fellow schoolmates of St Michael’s Primary.
“I thank you [PwC Jamaica] for your kind gesture. In the midst of the dark clouds of a pandemic, you have brought sunshine to our lives. Our Christmas will be merrier this year because you favoured us with your gifts and your presence. Thanks again for giving as God gave to us on that first Christmas day. You are indeed building trust for today and tomorrow. God Bless.”