Diaspora Back to School Supplies Drive raises $14k

The Back To School Supplies Drive which ran from August 15 to September 12, 2020, was a huge success! Thanks to several Diaspora organizations, partners, and individual donors, donations exceeded approximately 14k USD and were used exclusively to purchase school supplies that will benefit over 1500 students across Jamaica in over 20 schools. The school supplies are currently en route to Jamaica.

The drive organized by the Ministry of National Security and supported by the Jamaica Diaspora Taskforce Action Network (JDTAN), the Jamaica Canada Association (JCA) and Canada Coast to Coast, Too Small to Fail, the  Clinton Foundation, the Union of Jamaica Alumni Association (UJAA), the Jamaica Awareness Association of California (JAAC), the Alliance of Jamaican High Schools Associations in Toronto, the UTECH Community  Service & Development department and the LASCO Chin Foundation and Eye on Jamaica. As well as Dennis Shipping Jamaica Limited in Fort Lauderdale and Import Export and Freight Forwarding in Ontario for transporting the supplies to Jamaica at no cost.

Renee Steele from the Ministry of National Security extended “hearty appreciation to the combined efforts of the JDTAN, other members of the Jamaican Diaspora community and the organizations who supported the Back to School Drive for targeted children in some of our most vulnerable communities. The exceptional success of the drive is a demonstration that despite the challenges faced, the human spirit of generosity and caring remains ever present and ready to respond to the call. Over 1500 children will benefit from this initiative during a time when every mickle truly makes a muckle. Special thanks to Dennis Shipping Jamaica Limited for transporting the shipments to Jamaica.”

Leo Gilling JDTAN Chairman commented that  “we are so happy to have coordinated this drive in support of Ministry of National Security’s initiatives.  The collaborations further extended the impact and reach. So much more becomes possible when the Diaspora partners together on a common goal in direct support of needs in Jamaica. Especially in these  challenging times of the COVID19 pandemic.” Leo Gilling JDTAN Chairman commented that  “we are so happy to have coordinated this drive in support of Ministry of National Security’s initiatives.  The collaborations further extended the impact and reach. So much more becomes possible when the Diaspora partners together on a common goal in direct support of needs in Jamaica. Especially in these  challenging times of the COVID19 pandemic.”

Michelle McKenzie-Dolly Vice President of the Jamaican Canadian Association Toronto, who coordinated the Jamaican Canadians Coast to Coast Group (JCCC is comprised of nine Jamaican Canadian Association spanning across Canada) that managed the Canada arm of the Back to School Supplies Drive added that; “The Jamaican Canadian Coast to Coast group was happy to contribute just over Four Thousand Canadian Dollars towards this worthwhile cause. This was truly a Jamaican Canadian affair as in addition to the various JCCC Groups associations, the project galvanized support from the  Alliance of Jamaican High Schools Associations, Helping Hands International, the Charles Matthews J show and various Jamaican Canada Diaspora Groups. Special thanks to Tony Millwood of Universal of Import Export and Freight Forwarding in Brampton Ontario, for shipping the items to Jamaica free of cost.”

Casey Ann Gilling, the Chair of the Jamaica Diaspora Worldwide Organization Taskforce (JDWOT,) the Taskforce that coordinated the drive expressed excitement: “I am excited to say that we have exceeded the goal set for our back to school supplies drive. I am in awe of the response we have gotten. Our success is intricately tied to the partnerships created. To our partners, we are grateful for your continued commitment and support. To the individuals and organizations who have contributed to the back to school supplies drive, thank you for your donations.  As our children struggle to adjust to the new way of learning your contribution will go a long way in equipping them with the resources needed to enhance their learning experience; We know that when students are equipped for school it increases engagement, self-esteem and contributes to improved performance. Thanks to everyone who helped to make the School Supplies Drive a success.”

JDTAN and partners will now focus on the next phase of our Back to School partnership, a collaborative project to acquire devices and laptops, the One-One Cocoa tablet, and laptop initiative.