Anna-key Wholas, Operations Manager at Sandals Montego Bay was all smiles as she presented little Chavon McIntosh with a brand-new backpack from the Sandals Foundation.

More than 100 children from the Whitehouse Village in Montego Bay, St. James have been better equipped to start the new school year following a Back-to-School and Health Fair hosted by the Sandals Foundation.

The event was held on August 13 at the Whitehouse Community Centre. It was made possible through in-kind donations to the Foundation and executed in partnership with the Guardian Life Mobile Medical Unit and volunteers from the Sandals Resorts in the Montego Bay Region.

Children between the ages 3 to 16 years old were elated to receive school bags, books and other vital stationery to advance their back-to-school preparations. The donated items will help to ease the challenges faced by many parents at this time of year.

Ian Spencer, Sandals Foundation Representative and Regional Public Relations Manager for Montego Bay says the medical intervention was also welcomed by the community.

“Our partnership with the Guardian Life Mobile Medical Unit allowed for children as well as adults to benefit from free doctors’ visits and medical services and tests like blood pressure and blood sugar screenings,” Spencer said.

Meanwhile, Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation says the event forms part of a wider Caribbean summer education programme to invest in the holistic development of the region’s children.

“Over the summer, the Foundation has been busy with a number of activities, including school infrastructure upgrades and teacher-training sessions to improve the capacity of educators.”

The activities, Clarke says, will culminate at the end of August and are aimed at ensuring that students have the right tools to start the upcoming academic year.

Peaches Maxwell gets her blood pressure checked by Nurse Jacqueline West-Ramsey, a member of the medical team on-board the Guardian Life Mobile Medical Unit.