The national school-feeding program took the largest spotlight at the monthly general meeting of the St. Catherine Municipal Corporation (SCMC) in Spanish Town, on Thursday, October 11
Councilor for the Mount Industry division, Roogae Kirlew brought to the Council one of the four boxes of Manna Pack rice – which he said replaces the ‘Nutri-bun-bulla-milk’ products. He said he received it from the Ministry of Education and wanted to voice his great indignation.
Kirlew, who is also Principal for the Cassava River Primary and Infant School in Glengoffe, was incensed that Nutrition Products Limited, an agency of the Ministry of Education sent rice which came with the label “Feed My Starving Children”.
“I take great offence to this and I called Nutrition Products and I said to them ‘Send no more to my school’. I am waiting to see what the Ministry of Education is really coming with to replace the bulla and bun. This is an embarrassment and I’m very upset and troubled this afternoon as it relates to this,” he said.
(Since then, the Ministry in a release said it was not replacing the nutria bun, bullas and juices).
Kirlew explained his stance to JamaicaToday after the adjournment of the meeting, saying that the Government was being highly disrespectful to the needs of growing students in distributing these products across the island, with the expectation it is welcomed with “open arms.”
“I am very upset and I’m still waiting on [the ministry] to send the correct nutritional product to replace the bun and bulla. I see it as an insult to the children at school,” he said.
Kirlew contended that this Manna pack rice initiative was a mess, citing the “meal” itself to be high in fat, low in healthy starches with no meat-kind accompanying the delivery.
“I know in the past the ministry usually sent flour, cornmeal, corned beef, sardines and mackerel. If they had come with that, I would have rather they gave us that over some boxes of rice,” Kirlew said, asking, “You bring four boxes of rice, what would that be prepared with”?
“I have a concern with what is written on the bags: ‘Feed My Starving Children’. I’ve spoken to persons who have prepared it (Manna pack rice) and have had it and heard the sodium content is very high in it,” Kirlew told Jamaica Today.
Kirlew made it emphatically clear that he is waiting to see what the ministry comes with for the school feeding program, declaring that if the Manna pack rice is what is again delivered he will return to Council to denounce it come November.
Feed My Starving Children is a product of a Christian non-profit group of the same name based in Minnesota in the United States. Founded in 1987, it provides nutritionally complete meals for starving, malnourished and hungry people in poverty and famine-stricken areas of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.
Manna pack rice, comes with dehydrated carrots and other vegetables, soy protein, white rice and vitamin-packed flavoring.