Ninety children from across St. James were hosted at the annual back-to-school treat organised by Custos Rotulorum for the parish, Bishop Conrad Pitkin, at the Faith Temple Assemblies of God Church in Montego Bay on August 21.
Seventy of the youngsters, who are former students of seven primary schools in the parish, will attend high school when the 2020/21 academic year commences.
They recently graduated from Barrett Town All-Age and Infant School, Farm Primary, Bogue Hill Primary, Corinaldi Avenue Primary, Barracks Road Primary, Mount Salem Primary, and Salt Spring Primary School.
The remaining 20 children are members of the church who, along with the other youngsters, were presented with packages that included backpacks containing pencils.
The event was divided into two 60-minute sessions – the first at 11AM and the other at 1PM, to ensure that protocols were observed in an effort to slow the spread of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
The event represented an expansion of engagements previously undertaken.
In his remarks to the beneficiaries, Bishop Pitkin, who is in charge of the Faith Temple Church, noted that the main reason the programme was expanded this year is the challenge being experienced by parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said students transitioning from primary to high schools were targeted because ‘the strain would be greater on the parents’.
“We asked the principals to select [students] from these schools. So from seven schools there were 10 students each, and then from the church the 20 students are drawn from various schools,” he said.
Bishop Pitkin indicated that several extra packages were prepared in anticipation of other children spontaneously attending the treat.
He thanked all of the stakeholders for making contributions to the treat. They included: philanthropist Janet Richards, and Chief Executive Officer of the Whitter Group – Angella Whitter.
Bishop Pitkin also used the opportunity to encourage parents and children in attendance to maintain adherence to the COVID-19 protocols and safeguards as stipulated by the Government, to prevent the spread of the virus.
The information for this story was provided by the state-owned Jamaica Information Service
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