Backpacks for Jamaica, Thanks to the Staff of a Boca Raton Businessman
COCONUT CREEK, Fla. (June 26, 2013) – Sixty-six new backpacks with supplies for students 3- to 6-years-old were carefully packed by a small assembly line of employees of Purity Wholesale Grocers, Inc., based in Boca Raton, Fla., and donated to Food For The Poor. This outburst of generosity was sparked when their boss and CEO of Purity Wholesale Grocers, Jeff Levitetz, shared photos and a video of his recent trip to Jamaica.
But this was no ordinary island getaway, the Levitetz Family Foundation funded the construction of a basic school through the relief and development organization Food For The Poor, and in May the school was inaugurated in Steerfield, St. Ann, Jamaica. Staff members in the Florida office of Purity Wholesale Grocers wanted to do something for the students, so they put the word out to other staff members in the Chicago and Scottsdale offices, and the donations poured in.
“I was amazed that so many of the staff members with Purity Wholesale Grocers took it upon themselves to collect these backpacks for the students attending the basic school in Jamaica,” said Levitetz. “The school was built through the Levitetz Family Foundation, and the staff came together like family and did this great thing on their own accord. This touched me very much.”
Steerfield, a rural community that sits in a valley, is located some 30 miles from the iconic tourist destination of Ocho Rios. For more than a decade, 3- to 6-year-olds have attended school in the Steerfield Community Center, which had no kitchen, no sick bay and no private bathrooms. It was overcrowded, unbearably hot and infested with wasps.
“Food For The Poor has committed to build 50 basic schools within 50 months in celebration of Jamaica’s 50th Anniversary of Independence, which was Aug. 6, 2012,” said Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of Food For The Poor. “But none of this would be possible without the loving support of our donors. What the Levitetz Family Foundation has done is a real blessing, especially for the children attending their new school in Steerfield.”
Each basic school constructed will have an office, sick bay, kitchen, bathrooms, and one large classroom that can be subdivided into three learning spaces. There’s an average capacity of 40 students per school, but depending on the size of the structure, up to 100 students can attend. There’s typically one teacher and a teacher’s assistant in the smaller schools, and three or more in the larger schools.
“We plan to go back to Jamaica to build two more schools. These schools are not projects that we will do and then walk away, we want to continue to support these schools and help the students to succeed,” said Levitetz. “So this will be an ongoing project for us.”
Levitetz plans to travel in September with Food For The Poor to deliver the 66 new backpacks and school supplies to the students attending Steerfield Basic School.
Food For The Poor, named by The Chronicle of Philanthropy as the largest international relief and development organization in the nation, does much more than feed millions of the hungry poor in 17 countries of the Caribbean and Latin America. This interdenominational Christian ministry provides emergency relief assistance, clean water, medicines, educational materials, homes, support for orphans and the aged, skills training and micro-enterprise development assistance, with more than 95 percent of all donations going directly to programs that help the poor. For more information, please visit www.FoodForThePoor.org.
Food For The Poor
954-427-2222 x 6074