Farm Workers Donate $500,000 to Students in St. Ann
Educational grants totalling $500,000 have been presented to 10 students in St. Ann, who are pursuing studies related to agriculture, by Jamaican workers employed to Gebbers Farms in Washington, United States.
The students were selected from four high schools in the parish and will receive $50,000 each to offset their educational expenses. The schools are Aabuthnott Gallimore High, Brown’s Town High, Ferncourt High, and Marcus Garvey High.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony, at the offices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, in Kingston, on April 29, Portfolio Minister, Hon. Shahine Robinson, commended the workers for their continued investment in the country.
“You have been unselfish in your generosity and we thank you for that,” the Minister said.
Mrs. Robinson added that the donation represents an investment in youth, nurturing them toward careers in agriculture for livelihood and economic growth.
She encouraged the students to continue to do well in their studies and not to waste the assistance and opportunity they are receiving.
“Grasp it and use it to make yourselves better, so that when the workers hear how well you have done, they will be encouraged to help even more students in Jamaica,” the Minister said.
Mrs. Robinson also thanked the owners and operators of Gebbers Farms for their benevolence and act of philanthropy, and for the cycle of generosity they continue to promote.
Meanwhile, Camp Supervisor, Gebbers Farms, Eyon Gayle, informed that the Jamaican workers on the farms have donated more than $1 million to various ventures since 2012.
Mr. Gayle said it is hoped that the donation will assist the students to achieve their goals in becoming valuable contributors to society.
He lauded the owners and operators of Gebbers Farms for their contributions to various organisations over the years.
“Every dollar that we contribute to this country, they have matched it and given to various other charities,” he noted.
For his part, owner of Gebbers Farms, Robert Grandy, said they were motivated to give back following the acts of kindness demonstrated by workers on the farms.
Mr. Grandy added that he is pleased his company has been providing employment opportunities for Jamaicans since 2010.
Gebbers Farms became involved in the overseas employment programme in 2010, and took approximately 300 workers in that year. Since then, they have recruited additional workers every year.
Some 514 Jamaican farm workers will leave the island next month to work on the farms, under the Overseas Employment Programme.
Gebbers Farms are among the largest holdings in the United States, with over 5,000 acres of apples and more than 2,000 acres of cherry.