Ninety children from across St. James were hosted at the annual back-to-school treat organised by Custos Rotulorum for the parish, Bishop the Hon. Conrad Pitkin, at the Faith Temple Assemblies of God Church in Montego Bay on August 21.
Seventy of the youngsters are former students of seven primary schools in the parish and will be attending high school when the 2020/21 academic year commences,
The institutions they attended are Barrett Town All-Age and Infant School, Farm Primary School, Bogue Hill Primary School, Corinaldi Avenue Primary School, Barracks Road Primary School, Mount Salem Primary School, 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 proceedings were divided into two 60-minute sessions, the first at 11:00 a.m. and the other 1:00 p.m., to ensure that novel coronavirus (COVID-19) protocols were observed. 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 challenges being experienced by parents due to the COVID-19 pandemic is the main reason that the programme was expanded this year.
He told JIS News that students transitioning from primary to high schools were targeted, as “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.
The Custos thanked all of the stakeholders 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.