THAT’S FANTASTIC! Restaurants of Jamaica donates $7.4 million to school feeding initiative

Education Minister Karl Samuda and Marketing Director for Restaurants of Jamaica, Tina Matalon and Andrew Narine, CEO Nutrition Products Ltd.

Restaurants of Jamaica (ROJ) under their KFC ADD HOPE initiative donated $7.4 million to the Ministry of Education through Nutrition Products Limited (NPL) on Thursday (Feb 20) to help provide meals to basic and primary schools across Jamaica.

The signing of the MOU took place at the Mona Heights  Primary School in Kingston. Speaking at the ceremony, ROJ’s Brand Manager Andrei Roper said that this was a critical partnership between the private and public sector for the betterment of Jamaican children.

It is estimated that this year’s donation of $7.4 million will benefit 82 schools. Marketing Director for ROJ, Tina Matalon said that her company has now donated over $13 million to school feeding programmes over two years. ROJ’s initial contribution toward the National Feeding Programme through its ADD HOPE initiative in 2018 was $4.5 million which went a long way in providing over 82,000 meals to 3,500 students at the basic and primary level.

From Left: Grace McLean, acting permanent secretary in the Education Ministry; Minister Samuda; Restaurants of Jamaica executive Tina Matalon; Gospel artiste Kevin Downswell; and Andrew Narine, CEO Nutrition Products Ltd.

She said: “As a member of corporate Jamaica and a major player in the foodservice industry, we at ROJ feel it’s our duty to play our part in feeding our nation’s children. Providing the ideal number of meals to students in need will require continuous and sustained efforts so we welcome partnership and support of anyone who wants to join us in this fight against hunger in schools across Jamaica. I do hope this programme grows over the years and we are able to provide more meals. We will continue to invest in the future of Jamaica and we must continue to add hope.”

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Dr Grace McLean said a healthier lifestyle leads to healthier living which requires better food. She went on to add that in many cases the only meal that kids get are the ones provided at school.

Minister Karl Samuda said when he joined the Ministry of Education there were no breakfast programmes and this year over 100,000 breakfast meals will be served up. “We’re always grateful for partnerships such as these which benefit and touch the lives of a great many across our island. This is a team effort and Restaurants of Jamaica has shown tremendous potential to help subsidize our efforts. We feel your support and the children who stand to benefit from this as well,” said Minister Samuda.