Hope & care
Destiny’s Child said, “If we all stand together this one time, then no one will get left behind”. Last Saturday at the Aberdeen Jones Centre in Gall Hill, Christ Church Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, launched the Hope and Care Foundation with just this in mind.
The foundation, he said, was aimed at bringing communities together to ensure that the children, specifically “those who are from vulnerable families”, were not deprived of a breakfast every morning.
The first programme offered would be the breakfast programme, catering to children resident in the Christ Church West Central constituency, starting with the Vauxhall Primary and Milton Lynch Primary schools as well as Deighton Griffith Secondary.
“We know that our teachers in the various schools have engaged in this and they have to rely on their own resources to sometimes give children a breakfast. We thought that this is something that requires an outreach — requires communities to come together.
“The Hope and Care Foundation was born with a view to bring an answer to this particular issue, but that is only the first project. The Hope and Care Foundation is designed to ensure that it can bring a community answer to a community problem,” he said.
Lashley, who is also Minister of Youth, said the foundation partnered with Deliverance Ministries of Barbados, Esso Oistins, Specto-Chem, Apropos and the Comprehensive Learning Academy to establish the venture.
Lashley urged that while there were a number of sponsors who came on board to support the initiative, there was still room for more. Emphasising that support could also be offered in the form of volunteering one’s time to help prepare the meals for the children, he added: “Our communities have been preached a lot ‘I can do this for you’, but our communities are strong within themselves.
“We have within our communities so much talent, these young people need our support they need our nourishment and they need our protection. We have to feed our nation, we have to make our young people healthy and if we say they are to go to school and learn well … we have to ensure that our words are translated into practical solutions for them and that is why the breakfast programme, which is the first project that the foundation will initiate, is so important.”
The programme will start in time for the new school term, and the MP said he believed it would grow from strength to strength.
Dealer/Manager of Esso Oistins, Carlton Proute, said that he was moved to be a part of the initiative after an encounter with a student of one of the participating schools. He said one morning the boys went into his station and asked for a hotdog and a coca-cola and he was shocked to find out that was his breakfast.
As a result, when he called the school to learn how he could help, they told him of the breakfast programme and his answer was yes.
“I hope that it will be followed by yes from other persons and I say to you, there are a number of you here who will say ‘oh but you have a business and you are capable, I can’t afford’ — that is not true. Think of last Sunday’s lunch that you had and how much of it that you threw away — particular the vegetables; the drink that you put inside the fridge and forgot.
“I say to you next time Sunday comes, open one less tin of corn, open one less tin of chips. Give that tin or that container to the foundation… You too have the ability to feed a child,” he said.
Other programmes offered include sign language homework support programme. A road tennis competition will be held soon, and the minister revealed that additional play parks would be provided in Gall Hill and Vauxhall for children, and an adult park in Church Hill. (KC)