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The distribution of commodities for the cooked lunch component of the School Feeding Programmne will begin this week.

Director of the programme in the Ministry of Education, Helen Robertson, advised that region one schools can collect their food items as of Wednesday (August 29) at the warehouse in Kingston, while haulage contractors will begin deliveries to the other regions as of September 4.

The items include rice, corned beef, jack mackerel, flour, vegetable oil, and cornmeal.

As for the items for the nutrition aspect of the programme (buns, bullas, milk and juice), these will be disbursed during the first week of September. Mrs. Roberston is reminding schools that the nutri-snacks, a solid and liquid together, should be sold for $2.00.

Some 175,000 students will receive cooked lunches this school year, while 136,000 others will benefit from the nutrition component.

There is also provision for 210,000 beneficiaries under the Programme for Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH), including 4,000 children in infant schools.

Schools on the cooked lunch programme also receive a subsidy of $450 per student, per year, while recognised infant schools receive $250 per student, per year.

The first tranche of grants was uploaded to school bank accounts during the third week of August, to ensure that schools can prepare meals when the new academic year  begins on September 3.

Mrs. Robertson said that the School Feeding Programme continues to have a “great impact on the students, because it contributes to their overall development. It helps to motivate parents to enroll their children in school, which reduces absenteeism. It also alleviates short-term hunger in children, which helps them to increase their attention span and concentration, which leads to positive learning outcomes."