(CMR) The Ministry of Education (MOE) recently recognized Feed Our Future and the Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman for their outstanding contributions to the nutrition of Cayman Islands students.
The Minister of Education, Hon. Juliana O'Connor-Connolly handed over a plaque to representatives of each organization to symbolize the occasion.
Thanking both entities for their invaluable contribution, the Education Minister underscored the importance of partnerships and student nutrition. She stated:
“An important observation I have made during my years, first as an educator and more recently as Minister of Education, is the impact of good nutrition on children's learning capability. I have also recognized the importance of partnerships. We, therefore, need support from the local business community, charitable and voluntary organizations, and other civic-minded members of society if we are to truly enrich our children's lives and ensure that they realize their full academic potential.”
The Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman has supported local students through its ‘Buy a Kid Breakfast Programme' since 2005 and its ‘Homeschool Lunch Programme' at the onset of COVID 19 in 2020.
Chairperson of the Homeschool Lunch Programme, Ms. Kadi Pentney, expressed her appreciation for the recognition while collecting the award.
“Thank you for this beautiful award. We are very happy to take care of the children of Cayman, especially when it comes to food and education. We appreciate this recognition and look forward to continuing to work with you in the future.”
Feed our Future Chairperson, Ms. Stacey VanDevelde also thanked the Education Ministry for its recognition.
She further stated, “Since our work began in 2011, we have supported and worked with all of the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) schools each school year to identify and serve children in need by ensuring regular access to the food they need to thrive.”
“Each school year, our program has serviced up to 300 students, and over the COVID lockdown and remote learning period, this number grew to over 500.”
Clifton Hunter High School (CHHS) is one of the many institutions whose students have benefitted from the generosity of these entities throughout the years. Its Principal, Dr. Richard Wildman, also expressed his heartfelt appreciation for both organizations.
He said, “Through their support, parents had the assurance that their children would have access to the food they need while building long-term resiliency and food security for them and their families.”
Ms. Adonza Carter, whose children attend the Sir John A Cumber Primary School, concurred.
“Feed Our Future and the Kiwanis Club have assured my kids a healthy meal each day and provided them with an opportunity to succeed in their education,” Ms. Carter remarked.
The Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman President Jessica Kozaily and Immediate Past President Winsome Radcliffe were in attendance at the handover.
MOE Chief Officer Ms. Cetonya Cacho, Deputy Chief Officer Ms. Lyneth Monteith, and Director Department of Education Services (DES) Mr. Mark Ray were also in attendance.
Mr. Ray used the opportunity to recognize other entities for their generosity throughout the years.
“We have a number of other entities who would have supported several initiatives in education over the years, and we want to thank you on behalf of our schools as, without you, some students would not necessarily know where the next meal would have come from,” he said.
Other entities that have contributed to student nutrition throughout the years include the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)/Needs Assessment Unit (NAU), Arbutus Galley, Webster's Tours, Acts of Random Kindness (ARK), and the National Council of Children's Organisations (NCVO).
The MOE introduced the first phase of the Public School Meals Programme in CIG primary schools and the Lighthouse School at the start of the 2021/2022 academic year. The second phase, which involves high schools, including the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre (CIFEC), commenced in March 2022.
Mr. Ray welcomed a continued partnership with these entities.
“Although the new program has commenced, there is still a role for you. There are still opportunities for support. We look forward to further discussions with you to see how we can partner and continue to serve our young people,” he stated.
To learn more about the Public School Meals Programme or sign up for its interactive meal management system, visit www.myschoolpos.com.