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Community group helps pupils and prisoners with books and computers

A thank you card from a family that benefited from donations to supply Chromebooks to school pupils (Image supplied)

Pupils and prisoners have been helped by a community group that launched campaigns to provide computers and books.

The Grateful Bread rallied supporters, who paid for 20 Chromebooks for children and donated boxes of books to Westgate inmates.

The group teamed up with the Coalition for the Protection of Children to help families and turned its focus to IT support last summer.

Grateful Bread told supporters: “Given the shift to online learning arising from the health crisis, we are painfully aware that many of our local families do not have the tools that are so desperately needed for their children to be able to learn from home.

“These are resources that we take for granted … but many families have no such hope of being able to provide these, with a focus on food on the table first.”

By the end of September, enough money was raised to supply Chromebooks to 20 families, with the assistance of Dion Smith of Smith Technologies.

The Grateful Bread also thanked Giovanni Joseph of the Ministry of Education for getting the devices programmed for pupils.

A newsletter from the community action group said: “With schoolchildren working from home again, this was an ideal time to get these devices to families in need – thank you.

“Helping one family at a time is what the Grateful Bread is about and it’s working.”

But the newsletter added: “There are obviously still more families who desperately need this help for their children to succeed who are in dire need of a device.

“Please rally for the cause of thrilling a family with their first Chromebook.”

Supporters earlier donated about $300,000 to the coalition to cover household expenses such as Belco bills, groceries and rent for 40 struggling families.

The move came after the Grateful Bread’s monthly meals for people in need were put on pause because of the pandemic.

The group announced last July that it would collect books for Bermuda’s prisoners.

Dozens of books have since been handed over to Shari-Lynn Pringle, a librarian for Westgate and the Co-ed Facility.

Grateful Bread told supporters that “the inmates have been very excited by new reading materials”.

It added that prisoners “especially love crime detective novels like James Patterson or John Grisham” as well as books about Bermuda history and culture.

A letter to Grateful Bread founder Juliana Snelling from Shawnette Somner, an education officer at the Department of Corrections and secretary of the Prison Officers Association, said: “It is with much gratitude that I e-mail you to say a heartfelt thank you for your book donation for the libraries at the Department of Corrections.

“We have many avid incarcerated readers who always appreciate new reading material, so your donation certainly helped to fulfil this desire for them to read.”

Ms Pringle said this week: “People have been really generous, Juliana’s group has been great."

She said that inmates were delighted when new books arrived.

Ms Pringle added: “Some of them have been there for quite some time so they’ve read everything that’s there.”

The Grateful Bread also organised 35 boxes of clothes for inclusion in a shipment to Haiti by the Feed My Lambs Ministry, which launched a relief campaign after an earthquake that measured 7.2 on the Richter scale hit near the town of Petit Trou de Nippes on August 14.

More than 50 meals and toiletries were handed out to people in Hamilton by the group last June.

The group is also going to do a giveaway on Thanksgiving Day of winter clothes and toiletries and household goods. If supporters want to get involved they should email jsnelling@canterburylaw.bm.

* To donate to the scheme to provide laptops for schoolchildren, visit:https://www.signupgenius.com/go/5080d4caeaa2aa0fd0-cpcfsf

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Published October 27, 2021 at 7:42 am (Updated October 27, 2021 at 7:42 am)

Community group helps pupils and prisoners with books and computers

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