Acting Chief Information Officer of the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS), Erskine Callender (second from left) and President of the YWCA, Marilyn Rice-Bowen look at some of the items donated by the BGIS to the Breakfast Club programme. Looking on are General-Secretary of the YWCA, Katrina Taylor and Marketing Officer at the BGIS, Ronny Yearwood.
The Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA) Breakfast Club today received a double boost to its programme, when the Barbados Government Information Service (BGIS) donated a food hamper and CD player to the Club, at its Deacons Road Headquarters.
In handing over the items to President Marilyn Rice-Bowen, the Acting Chief Information Officer, Erskine Callender, explained that it was an idea born out of the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the BGIS, where staff identified areas, such as community outreach, to “make a difference”.
He said: “I am pleased that the members of staff could make the donation to the YWCA Breakfast Club. It provides us with the opportunity to help the wider society. We thought that providing items to a programme that feeds and nurtures so many children in a community was ideal. Since children are our future, we are happy to get involved at this level of community outreach and we look forward to continuing in more tangible ways.”
President of the YWCA, Rice-Bowen thanked the BGIS on behalf of the Board of Management, staff, children and volunteers of the programme, and said: “This will help us and will go a long way in feeding the over 600 children we feed on a daily basis.”
Acknowledging that the donation was timely, she said a new club was to be established in St. George. “These numbers are expected to climb from next month when we go over to St. George to start a breakfast club there in collaboration with the South District Methodist Church. So, as we speak, we have 100 children waiting to commence the Breakfast Club… which would bring our total number to 700.”
Mrs. Rice-Bowen also expressed pleasure at the donation of the CD player and noted that it would assist the Reading Club “which meets on Saturdays” and allow children to hear educational music and stories while taking breakfast. This, she added, was in keeping with the social campaign designed by the YWCA, which has as its theme: “Saving Today’s Children for Tomorrow’s Future.”
Meanwhile, the President pointed out that although no formal survey had been done to assess the change in the children who were recipients of the Breakfast Programme, informal reports by teachers had found that some children who were previously restless, now appeared to be more settled, while those involved in sports were more energetic.
“We want to do a formal survey to present to the authorities, because as time goes on people want to find out if the Breakfast Club is that important and we want to have our information to support the fact that breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day and a breakfast club is very important in Barbados,” she explained.
Noting that since a school-meals’ programme was already in existence and “children were now going to school free on school buses”, Mrs. Rice-Bowen added that more persons would be needed to assist with the Breakfast Programme.