The team at JEMEC today donated £500 towards a fundraising effort, led by local specialist shoe shop Fit Footwear Central owner Audrey-Laurens Chalmers and her daughter Mollie, to provide free school dinners to vulnerable teenagers in Jersey.
There are no free school-meals in Jersey secondary schools which means there are too many teenagers who can't afford a lunch in school. For those kids, that's such an awful situation to be in. Not just hunger, but embarrassment perhaps, a feeling of being left out - and there is no doubt that proper food affects performance in school, concentration and behaviour.
In a place like Jersey, no child should be going hungry. For families under financial strain, it can be difficult to buy healthy food, meaning schools are sometimes the only place where children can receive a healthy meal. A 2018 Statistics Jersey report found that only 25% of children were accessing their five-a-day of fruit and veg. This no doubt a problem which has increased over the past year.
This fundraiser calls on islanders to crowdfund £5,000 to pay for 1,282 meal vouchers worth £3.90 each in collaboration with the amazing charity Caring Cooks of Jersey as part of their Flourish programme for secondary schools. These vouchers will be given to students at the schools where Caring Cooks provide the meal service: Les Quennevais, Haute Vallee, Grainville and Hautlieu. The current aim is to pay for 1,282 meals in total as a starting point, giving children a varied menu with options ranging from fruit to sandwiches and fully cooked hot meals.
Jersey teenagers have been getting quite a bit of bad press recently. However, for many of them, this last year has been catastrophic. Sports matches and events, which are so hugely important for well being, cancelled. Exams, cancelled. Birthday parties, cancelled. Uncertainty. Fear. Worry about their families, worry about their schooling, worry about university, worry about all those thing that were so important to us when we were their age.
Do you remember when you were a teenager? Those endless summer days, that freedom, the music, those mythical parties (that everyone else seemed to be having.. or was that just us?!) - all those memories which seem as vivid now as they did then? These young men and women have had much of that wiped out. It's a loss that they'll never get back. This is such a brilliant idea to hopefully make life a little less stressful to some of our Island's young people.
To find out more and donate to this essential cause, visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/freemealsforjerseykids?utm_term=QXMg6ymwb