Schools get an early Christmas present from community group
Bermuda's 18 primary schools were gifted more than $62,000 worth of supplies this week.
School principals, staff members and pupils united to thank Support Public Schools for the donations.
The SPS team delivered supplies including cleaning products, books, classroom materials and furniture to schools around the island on Tuesday.
Opal Wilson, the principal at West Pembroke Primary School, said many pupils’ parents were out of work because of the economic havoc wreaked by Covid-19.
She added: "Many of our parents are not working and sometimes even a book is hard to come by.
"We have to do extra cleaning and it is more expensive now because we have to buy all the cleaning supplies for the school.
“We have been given boxes of Kleenex and that is like gold."
Ms Wilson said her pupils were delighted when they found out about the donation.
She added: "When I told the students they shouted ’yes!’. They love presents.
"We have lots of supplies that the students definitely need and we are so appreciative of SPS team, especially during these times.“
SPS is run by volunteers and all funds go towards helping schools.
Ms Wilson added: "What I really admire is that this is not a charity – they do this voluntarily."
Small groups of pupils came out to accept the gifts at each of the schools throughout the day.
Juliana Snelling, a lawyer and the founder of SPS, said the group’s goal was to supply public schools with educational, arts and sports supplies and other equipment.
She added the group contacted the schools for a wish list of items.
Ms Snelling added that Butterfield Bank alone had donated $25,000 worth of supplies.
Michael Neff, Butterfield’s managing director, said: “Education is the key to continued long-term prosperity for Bermuda and its people, and we are proud to have been able to help enhance the learning experience for public school students through SPS.
“We encourage other corporate and individual donors to consider doing the same.”
Kim Bolin, the chairwoman of the volunteer and charity committee at Willis Towers Watson, a business management consultancy firm that also chipped in to help, was at Northlands Primary School.
She said one of the pillars of the company's community giveback remit this year was education.
Ms Bolin added: "We decided SPS was a great cause to support to give back to the community and we were happy to partner with them with the resources and materials needed.
“It is so important, now more than ever, so we are happy to give back especially during theses times."
Gina Evans, the deputy principal at Northlands, said: "We are very appreciative of the efforts of SPS to support our public education.
“It means a lot to us because it enhances our teaching and learning practices.
"Funds have always been slim, but given the current situation with the pandemic and the Ministry of Education having to buy personal protective equipment, we are really appreciative of the efforts of their entire team.
It also could not happen without the donors."
Gail Smith, the principal at St George’s Preparatory School, said she was grateful for the “ongoing generosity” of the SPS team.
She added: “We do appreciate the generosity of the SPS organisation. It’s not the first time they have donated to our school.
Ms Smith said: “It feels really good to know there are community members who really care about us.”
For more information, visit the SPS website at www.sps.bm