Lunch programme feeds kids during lockdown

| 02/06/2020
Cayman News Service
A volunteer outside Island Taste Restaurant, one of the donors to the Lunch Program

(CNS Local Life): Two charities are trying to make sure that children in the Cayman Islands don’t go hungry during the coronavirus lockdown. Since the schools closed in mid-March, the Homeschool Lunch Program has been providing 465 children from 13 government schools with a healthy meal or supermarket voucher. The Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman has been supporting 208 students and Feed our Future 257 students by partnering with the Department of Education Services.

Kiwanis Director Kadi Pentney explained that they liaise with school principals and counsellors to identify those students most in need or at risk, and daily lunches are prepared and delivered to students’ homes through school staff. 

For over 15 years Kiwanis has been supporting local students by providing them with a nutritious breakfast as part of their Buy a Kid Breakfast Programme, which aims to ensure that no child in the Cayman community starts the school day on an empty stomach.

According to a release from the club, this programme has been at the very heart of this voluntary service club and the main goal of its fundraising efforts.

However, with the curfew measures imposed to stop the spread of the coronavirus, children can no longer go to school for their breakfast and the number of children in need has increased. As the current situation evolves, the club is monitoring its response to meet the communities’ needs.

The cost of each hot meal is roughly CI$6.50. Where vouchers are provided, primary school students receive CI$6 per day and high school students receive CI$8 per day, five days a week. The vouchers are purchased from Foster’s supermarket, often offered at a discount.

Pentney said the Kiwanis Club has committed to continue supporting the 208 students they have been helping so far, as well as possibly adding more vulnerable children until the end of August. The total cost for this is CI$140,000, which is less than it would be without donations like 1,000 Island Taste meals donated by Davenport and a generous credit at Progressive donated by The Foster Group.

However, Pentney said, “We need the community’s support now more than ever to ensure no child misses a meal.”

School Counsellor Amy Hunt said, “Thanks to Kiwanis, 15 of our youngest and most vulnerable students from the Early Intervention Programme are now receiving meal support. The Lunch Program is making a difference in a profoundly meaningful way.”

Rory Mann of Butterfield Bank, one of the two Homeschool Lunch Program flagship sponsors, said, “It is vital to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are not forgotten during this world pandemic. Through our partnership with the Kiwanis Club of Grand Cayman we are proud to be able to offer our support and we applaud their efforts as they continue to provide access to nutritious meals for students in need.” 

Giselle Passchier of Wheaton Precious Metals, the second Homeschool Lunch Program flagship sponsor and the driving force behind the Community Support and Response Fund, said, “We have seen an unprecedented wave of economic and social hardship worldwide, Cayman included, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we understand the challenging times ahead.”

She added, “Launched to combat the impacts of COVID-19 on our community, the Community Support and Response Fund focuses on addressing three main areas that have been identified as requiring the greatest support during these difficult times: food security, community healthcare and socio-economic impacts.”

Passchier added, “Wheaton is proud to support the amazing work Kiwanis is doing alongside the Department of Education and Feed our Future to support Cayman’s youth. Through their Homeschool Lunch Program, many of Cayman’s most vulnerable youth can have one of their basic needs met by receiving hot meals or supermarket vouchers during school closures.”

Pentney added, “Thank you to Butterfield Bank, Wheaton Precious Metals, PwC, Maples Group, Ogier, Intertrust, Grant Thornton, Citco, Cayman Structural Group, KPMG, CIBC FirstCaribbean, Carey Olsen and Massy United Insurance, who have all made either a significant one time donation or have committed to multiple donations throughout the summer.”

Make a donation to the Homeschool Lunch Program through the Kiwanis Club here.

You can also email or call 916-8664.

Make a donation to Feed Our Future here.

No donation is too big or too small.  


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Category: Community, Education, Local News, Service Organisations

Comments (3)

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  1. Doodlebug says:

    And the gov’t is contributing, er, how much?

  2. Anonymous says:

    How do we know that this system isn’t being taken advantage of? Or is it the usual turn a blind eye tactics?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thank you to all involved!