Kingston, Jamaica: JP St Mary’s, one of two brands that fall under the large Caribbean food company JP Tropical Group, has donated over $3 million dollars in cash and kind to multiple agencies and groups.“JP St. Mary’s cares about the citizens of Jamaica,” declared Tara Goulbourne, group marketing and business development manager at JP Tropical Group Limited. “The country is going through a crisis and in order to get through it, we must come together and take care of each other and we at JP St. Mary’s have chosen to give back to the many individuals who have been most impacted.”
“Boosting your immune system right now is key and fortunately, the fruits we grow aids with that. What better way to offer support than ensuring that our people have an opportunity to eat healthily during this time.” Starting in their own backyard, JP St Mary’s donated boxes of ripe bananas to Annotto Bay Hospital, Port Maria Hospital, St Mary Infirmary, Enfield Primary and Junior High and the Richmond Farm Correctional Centre on Thursday, March 26, 2020.
The Correctional Centre, the infirmary and the Annotto Bay Hospital also received five boxes of green bananas weekly to supplement meals for the month of April.
“St Mary is our home and has been for many, many years. We always look after our own, so naturally, we reached out to core institutions to see how best we could assist each entity,” noted Goulbourne.
Nationally, JP St Mary’s made a cash donation of $2 million, alongside other corporate entities, ensuring that COVID-19 did not negatively affect the education of the nation’s children. The monies helped to close the gap on providing free access to online lessons through the EduFocal platform, for students currently at home.
The brand also made an initial donation of pineapples, green and ripe bananas to frontline workers at the Ministry of Health and Wellness on Tuesday March 17, 2020. The support continued for seven weeks.
“In light of the COVID-19 confirmed cases in Jamaica, we were determined to assist the Government in any way that we could,” noted Goulbourne. “We understood the impact that this would have on the Ministry of Health & Wellness’ resources and as such, we prepared to donate some of our fruits to the affected locations. Keeping in mind that the consumption of certain fruits at this time can help to boost the immune system and can aid in the fight against COVID-19.”JP St Mary’s has donated 30 boxes of fruit inclusive of ripe and green bananas to be distributed through 100-150 care packages in the #HotlineForTheElderly campaign. Additionally, Food For the Poor Jamaica has been receiving weekly donations of six boxes of ripe bananas since the end of March.
As a major food supplier, the conglomerate is also assisting recently unemployed workers in the tourism industry. In partnership with sister company Tortuga Rum Cake Jamaica, the other brand that falls under the JP Tropical Group, a donation of over $1.5 million dollars in products has been directed to hundreds of hotel employees.
The selected hotels were primarily those that they both supplied and were recently closed or have communicated the intention to shutter due to COVID-19 global impact on tourism. Some hotels who benefited included the staff of Moon Palace, Sandals and Excellence Hotel in early April.
According to Julio Diaz, purchasing manager at Moon Palace, he did not expect anything less when he heard that JP Tropical Group would be making donations to the members of the tourism industry affected by COVID-19.
“I would like to first and foremost say thanks to JP,” noted Diaz. “Aside from providing quality products, they continue to show that they truly care about the community. When I heard about the donation, I did not expect anything less of them. The donation has been graciously and greatly accepted by Moon Palace. I can honestly say that from day one, JP has shown a superior level of professionalism and heart.”