An old saying goes: a hungry man is an angry man.
That can also apply in a scholastic setting. When a child doesn’t have enough to eat, how can he or she concentrate on reading, writing, and arithmatic?
That’s where the NCVO’s Caring Cousins lunch support programme steps in.
“There are students that are constantly complaining about pains in their bellies, pains in their heads, so going to a classroom to learn is quite a feat, it’s a real distraction,” said John Gray High School counselor Christopher Murray.
He told Cayman 27 he’s seen first hand what happens when kids go to school hungry.
“You’ll see them looking poorly, looking disoriented, looking weak,” he said. “They might be in a class where all their other classmates have something to eat, and if they’re the only one not having something to eat, they’d rather hide away, they rather shy away.”
NCVO Coordinator Alta Bodden-Solomon says hunger in our schools is a topic many would rather avoid.
“I think we have this notion that Cayman is this beautiful paradise, we seem to think that everything is taken care of. But there are kids that still need help. We still need to take care of the ones that slip between the cracks,” she said.
Mr. Murray said the programme is designed to provide students with the nourishment they need without drawing unwanted attention.
“They’re not singled out, so that enhances their comfort zone, that they can go among the masses to get lunch just like anybody else,” said Mr. Murray.
He said when the caring cousins programme can intervene, the results can be inspirational.
“I’m here on the grounds, and I can tell you without a doubt, it works,” said Mr. Murray. “To have a student who would not be getting lunch on a regular basis starting to get lunch, and to watch that student start to be one focused on their class work and start to aspire to achieve, it’s one of the greatest things to see,” said Mr. Murray.
He hopes the community will continue its support of the programme, for the good of the students.
“The NCVO caring cousins programme is one of those initiatives that goes without saying, that it is absolutely life changing and meaningful and impactful,” said Mr. Murray.
“We just need to be the difference and you can do that as little as 50 dollars a month,” said Ms. Bodden-Solomon.
The caring cousins programme currently provides lunch support for 19 students on Grand Cayman and eleven students on Cayman Brac, with waiting lists on both islands.
For more information on how to help, or to refer a child in need, contact Ms. Bodden-Solomon at the 949-2124.