Tortuga, Candlestone Ink Media & Jamaican diaspora support CPFSA
Kith-Ann Excell, CEO of Candlestone Ink Media House
The COVID-19 pandemic has Jamaica's children living in state care staying home more now than ever before. This has further stretched the resources of the Child Protection and Family Services Agency, (CPFSA) which must provide more meals than when children used to attend physical school and were fed mostly through other government programs.
There are approximately 2,000 children living in state homes in Jamaica. A state home’s monthly food bill can run between JM$300,000 (US$2,128) for smaller facilities and JM$1,000,000 (US$7,092) for larger ones.
The CPFSA has also identified 500 children, currently on a medication regimen and who have special needs. These children are at increased vulnerability and would need extra support in the event that they contract the virus.
Against this backdrop, Candlestone Ink Media House has partnered with the CPFSA and Tortuga Rum Cake Company to help feed, clothe, educate and entertain children in state care in the protection of a safe space under a campaign called Reach Back Jamaica.
The mission of the Reach Back Jamaica campaign is "to support vulnerable children in state care affected by COVID-19" and comprises a group of empowered and philanthropic Jamaican women: Shellie Dean, Sr. Client Associate (Boston); Christine Messado, Publisher (Florida); Kristina Goodison, Actress & TV Host (California); Tuere Davis, Attorney-at-law (Jamaica); and Kith-Ann Excell, Social Entrepreneur & Marketing Conceptualist (Jamaica).
Members of the Jamaican Diaspora are being asked to help by dropping off new or gently used tablets and books; backpacks, educational games and supplies; non-perishable foods; disposable masks; personal care items such as bathing rags, towels, sanitary napkins, undergarments, and hygiene products to: Tortuga Imports Inc in Miami at 10125 NW 116th Way, Suite 10, Medley, FL 33178. Donations will be shipped to Jamaica, courtesy of, The National Education Trust (NET) which is an Agency under the Ministry of Youth and Information, and will be disbursed across all 52 children's homes in Jamaica by the CPFSA.
"We love our children and we know you do too, so at this time, we believe it’s important to help them feel safe, loved, educated and happy while adjusting to the reality of living during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is especially important during these times of isolation that we provide the right tools to keep imagination alive in the minds of our children,” said Kith-Ann Excell, founder of Candlestone Ink Media House and conceptualiser of the Reach Back Jamaica campaign.
Tortuga is ensuring that all donations can be aggregated in one central place, making it easier for those in the diaspora to help without any logistical hassles.
“It is our pleasure to support and play a small role in this wonderful and charitable cause,” said Marcus Simmonds, CEO of Tortuga Rum Cake Company.
In announcing the launch of the Reach Back Jamaica campaign, the Child Protection and Family Services Agency expressed its gratitude for this initiative.
“Candlestone Ink has reached out to us at the opportune time as the needs of our homes increased due to the pandemic,” said CPFSA Communications and Public Relations Manager, Rochelle Dixon.