CFL Volunteers Head to Anse-La-Raye for first Community Outing

It’s all hands on deck as a team of volunteers from Consolidated Foods Limited gear up to head to the community of Anse-La-Raye, this Saturday, April 12th.

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The 46-strong team which includes staff from Super J IGA stores, gl foodmarket, Mega J, CFL warehouses and CFL Service Divisions will be volunteering their time and skills to build a Ramp at the Parish Hall in Anse La Raye and undertake some beautification work at that location. This was the winning project for Zone A (Anse La Raye to Soufriere) in the Super J IGA Unity in Community Project.  It was proposed by the National Council of and for Persons with Disabilities on behalf of the Anse-La-Raye Council for the Disabled. The ramp will make it easier for persons with disabilities to access the Parish Hall.

The CFL team will be led by Managing Director Martin Dorville. He views corporate volunteerism as an impactful way to promote employee engagement with the   company’s social responsibility values. ”This is our first Community outing as part of the programme and we are eager to see how it all unfolds as we move from zone to zone. We have enjoyed a very close relationship with various communities over the years.  However as we celebrate our 10th anniversary, Unity in Community is an excellent way to continue to build on these partnerships.  Our people are worth the investment,” said Mr. Dorville.

The Super J IGA Unity in Community Programme was launched in January this year. This is one of the key activities to mark the company’s 10th anniversary. Through this project, CFL is inviting community development organizations, service clubs and charitable organizations to submit proposals for support of community projects. The winning project in each of the five zone receives $10,000 as well as assistance from CFL volunteers to undertake the various activities. The team will engage the various communities and by extension the many customers who frequent the stores on a daily basis by working alongside them on social change projects.

The five zones are as follows:

  • Zone A – Anse La Raye to Soufriere – January 09 – February 10
  • Zone B – Choiseul to Vieux Fort – April 03 – May 05
  • Zone C – Micoud to Dennery – July 03 – August 04
  • Zone D – Gros Islet – July 03 – August 04
  • Zone E – Castries – October 02 – November 03

National Netball Receives CFL Support

Teaching teamwork, strengthening communities and contributing to the physical well-being and overall confidence of the athletes, netball continues to thrive locally and regionally.

Super J Marketing Officer presents cheque to SLNA President

Super J Marketing Officer presents cheque to SLNA President

As the St. Lucia Under-16 Netball Team prepares to head off to Antigua for the 14th Jean Pierre Caribbean Under-16 Netball Championships in April, Consolidated Foods Limited continues to work with the national netball body to make this activity a reality.

In a presentation ceremony held on Monday, March 24, CFL Marketing and Corporate Communications Officer Taluah Girard presented the President of the Saint Lucia National Netball Association (SLNA), Mrs. Rufina Paul, with a $5000 cheque which will help to defray the costs associated with Team Saint Lucia’s participation in this annual event.

Speaking at the ceremony, the SLNA President thanked CFL for their consistent support of Under 16- Netball over the years.

Team Saint Lucia Prepares for Under-16 Championships

Team Saint Lucia Prepares for Under-16 Championships

“With the sudden move of the tournament from Antigua to Saint Lucia, the Association had to be very quick in securing funding for the Saint Lucian netball contingency to travel overseas. We are very pleased that we were able to count on CFL’s contribution as we have in the past. CFL shares the understanding of the power of sports like netball to teach the youth important life skills, instill positive values, as well as develop good character. The team has gone through some very rigorous training over the past few weeks and we are looking forward to a successful outcome at this year’s tournament.”

This year’s Under-16 Netball Championships which is scheduled for April 3rd- April 15th in Antigua coincides with Caribbean Netball Diamond Jubilee Celebration, a celebration of milestone 60 years of competitive netball in the region.

Filmaking – spuring the invention and imagination of youth

Inspiring young people to watch, make and use film in new and creative ways that support their education and personal development. That’s the focus of the film festival which is currently being hosted by Rise St. Lucia Inc. This is the second year that RISE is organizing the Film Festival through which participants ages 11 to 26 are exposed to technical and life skills useful in the art of filmmaking.

CFL Marketing Assistant with RISE Representative Collin Weekes

CFL Marketing Assistant with RISE Representative Collin Weekes

The film festival is being coordinated in three phases – the first phase consists of a series of workshops which end on Sunday March 30. The second phase (April 11 to 25) will take the form of a road show, where films will be taken to various communities for public viewing. The final component of the festival is the awards ceremony on April 26.

As one of the sponsors of prizes for the festival Consolidated Foods Ltd. is providing SONY headphones as prizes for winners in various categories

CFL sees this activity as one which has the potential to not only develop the youth for careers in the film industry, but also helping to spur the invention and imagination of the island’s youth.

The RISE film festival is now in its second year and was nominated for the Idea of the Year Award at the 2014 Saint Lucia Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.

CFL teams up with Cutty Ranks Barbershop

Grooming and personal hygiene are key to maintaining good health. They have the capacity to not only improve confidence but also promote a sense of emotional and physical well-being. Barber Bannah Suffren (owner of Cutty Ranks Barber Shop) and his wife Janna understand this very well. It is with this in mind that the young couple started the Community Outreach and Grooming Project two years ago, to provide haircuts to students across the island. To date over 1400 students from 61 schools have been touched.In addition to the hair grooming service which is offered free of charge to the selected students, the Suffren team also invest their time in educating students on the importance of personal hygiene. They share useful information on daily grooming and teach the young ones how to cut each other’s hair thereby equipping them with a valuable skill set for future employment.

Marketing Team presents Bannah and Janna Suffren with supplies

Marketing Team presents Bannah and Janna Suffren with supplies

Last week, Consolidated Foods Limited extended a hand to the programme by donating a large quantity of barber supplies to the grooming project. The package included razors, toilet paper, shampoo, conditioner and rubbing alcohol which are all essential for the programme. Speaking during the presentation Mr. Suffren referred to the support as timely, given the extent of the needs and his plans to grow the programme. “We are excited when see the transformation in attitudes and growth of the students and their general eagerness to learn more about proper hygiene. It has never been just about cutting hair, through this programme we want to empower these students to take an interest in not just their hygiene but their overall development. Based on feedback from the schools, other areas of the students lives have been impacted by this programme. In fact their grades are better and they are also becoming more confident. We are very grateful for CFL’s sponsorship as we know it will make a difference.”

In making the presentation the CFL Marketing team praised the Suffren team for initiating the outreach project, which provides a basic but important service to students in communities around Saint Lucia and also equips them with valuable information for the future.

CFL and HOOPSS go into Phase 4

A good agricultural sector has been praised by economists all over the world as the key to the development and sustainability of any nation’s economy. To put it simpler, the more food a country can grow on its own means the less food it will have to import from others. To top it off,  if the quality of production is excellent, this could open doors to increase exports and bring in a considerable amount of revenue to the nation.

CFL Representative with teacher and students of La Guerre Primary

CFL Representative with teacher and students of La Guerre Primary

As one of the leading retailers in St. Lucia, this basic economic principle embodies the vision that Consolidated Foods Ltd (operators of Super J, Mega J and gl foodmarket)has laid out for St. Lucians and the local economy on a whole.The CFL Farmers Loans Program was one of many successful attempts by the company to develop the nation’s farming and agri-business sector as a means of strengthening the sector while at the same time helpingto reduce the island’s food import bill. In recent years, the company has been partnering with the St Lucia Agriculture Forum for Youth (SLAFY) in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)and the Ministry of Agriculture to augment the existing agricultural programmes offered at primary and secondary schools with a strong emphasis on making it a more exciting subject of study and career option for young people.

Delegation team - CFL, Ministry of Agriculture and IICA officials at C.A.R.E

Delegation team – CFL, Ministry of Agriculture and IICA officials at C.A.R.E

HOOPSS, the acronym for “Helping Out our Primary and Secondary Schools” was the direct result of this collaborationand the initiative continues to dig deep into the backyard gardens and greenhouses of schools across the island. Therecent addition ofthe La Guerre Primary, Micoud Secondary and the Centre for Adolescent Renewal and Education (CARE), brings the number of schools to the programme to a seventeen (17).

Students at CARE Receiving Agricultural Supplies

Students at CARE Receiving Agricultural Supplies

“This is one of the many benefits of being a part of HOOPSS,”says Taluah Girard, Marketing  & Corporate Communications Officer of CFL,  “seeing young people eager to get involved in Agriculture, developing a love for the subject in school and even applying what they’ve learnt back home to their own back yards and the rest of their families.”

The three schools were also the latest recipients of agricultural supplies as part of the fourth phase of the programme. So far,CFL has donated over $175,000towards the project,resulting  in the purchase of greenhouses, agricultural tools, resource training for Agricultural Science teachers and the creation of a market by agreeing to purchase surplus produce from schools within the program.

CFL and IICA officials handing over supplies at La Guerre Primary

CFL and IICA officials handing over supplies at La Guerre Primary

One of the more practical components of HOOPSS, according to Ms. Girard, is tostrengthen the current feeding programmes at schools across the island. Strong impetus for this development was also provided by CFL earlier this month through the funding of a fifty (50) Unit Poultry Pen at CARE,capable of producing at least 3 batches of meat a year. For now, only students from  the CARE outlets at Anse La Raye and Soufriere will be benefiting from the initiative, giving them the opportunity to select and engage in poultry farming as one of the many programs offered at the school.

According to Perishables Manager of CFL, Dunstan Demille, the future of agriculture rests with the youth and it is important that students understand the range of options available. He says poultry is an area where there is a lot of opportunity for growth.Remarkably, the company has committed to covering at least sixty five percent (65%) of the cost of establishing this new project. The pens are expected to be operational in March of this year.

Newly appointed IICA representative for the Eastern Caribbean States, Mr. John King was also part of the visiting delegation and has been very vocal about his praise for CFL’s commitment to HOOPSS and the project’s overall importance to the island. “This type of programme” he says, “is the answer to our aging farming population on island and the major key to increasing food production in the country and sustaining our very vital economic sector.”

As the HOOPSS project continues to build momentum, Consolidated Foods Ltd will like to urge more schools to come on board as well as the wider business community to work together to help bring back the nation’s economy to a reputable standard via agriculture.

CFL partnering to reignite interest in root crops and tubers

Consolidated Foods Limited has partnered with a number of organizations with the intention of reversing a noticeable decline in the island’s production of root crops.

Dunstan Demille, Perishables Manager for Consolidated Foods Ltd says over the past ten years it appears that farmers have gradually moved away from the more challenging cultivation of root and tuber crops such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and cabbage which take an average of 6-12 weeks to grow.

Last week CFL initiated a brainstorming session with the Ministry of Agriculture’s Marketing Department, the Tissue Culture Lab, the Caribbean Agriculture Research and Development Institute, Renwick and Company and local farmers to develop strategies to revive interest in this sector.

Officials of CARDI Renwick and SLBS at Head Table

Officials of CARDI Renwick and SLBS at Head Table

In his address to the over 25 farmers present at the brainstorming meeting Dunstan urged the gathering to capitalize on this unique opportunity. “We at CFL have acknowledged our role in guiding you our farmers on what needs to be produced in order to feed the nation, now it is your turn to take this programme to a level of seriousness so that we can get the necessary volumes to eventually be able to reduce our import bill. With this new approach we aim to achieve a number of objectives which include consistency of supply and the introduction of more market stable varieties of roots and tubers to our market. Working alongside our agricultural partners we are confident that we will all reap great rewards with this programme.”

Renwick and Company as the leading supplier of agricultural supplies has thrown its support behind the CFL initiative to increase production of root crops, a critical ingredient in the promotion of food security and the reduction of the island’s huge food import bill.

Agricultural development is a core area of support for CFL (operators of Super J IGA, Mega J and gl foodmarket). The company has a number of initiatives in place to support the growth and development of CFL registered farmers including a loan fund and preferential pricing for certified farmers. Agriculture in schools is another significant area where CFL is one of two major contributors to HOOPSS, a programme which underpins the existing agricultural programmes offered at primary and secondary schools and allows students to be exposed to Agriculture technologies and agribusiness.

The WAVE uses its Network and Reach to Support Cancer Awareness

One of the island’s leading radio stations is using its reach into the various communities on the island and across the region, to edify and arouse public consciousness about Cancer, in particular breast cancer. The WAVE has aligned itself with this very important cause through its support of the Yoplait Walk for Cancer.

As the “Official Radio Partner of the Yoplait Walk” , the local radio station which is affiliated with the STARCOM regional network has been keeping the “I Pledge” theme and the campaign very current in the minds of listeners. Through its various announcers, the station is providing the public with lots of useful information on what to look for, signs and symptoms, protection against breast cancer, early detection, diagnosis and treatment among other areas.

The wave team pledge support

The wave team pledge support

The station is also conducting weekly live radio interviews with various special guests including Cancer Specialists as well as Survivors. In addition to this, the team at the WAVE have been creating sustained hype for the walk as they excite the public to go out and support this massive cancer fundraiser. During these interviews the public can call in to win some great prizes provided by CFL.

In a statement on its commitment, the WAVE pledged to bring focused attention to the cause using uplifting and motivational messages and methods that young people are able to relate to.

“We are pleased  to continue this relationship with CFL, as we pledge our support for the efforts at awareness, prevention and care in the fight against breast cancer,  another scourge worthy of elimination. It is our honor to work with you on the awareness building and also to help raise funds so that persons affected in some way benefit from your efforts.”

This coming Saturday the WAVE will be supporting the outreach efforts of Consolidated Foods Limited, by linking up with the CFL team at various locations where Yoplait Walk T-shirts are being sold.

The Yoplait Walk for Cancer is scheduled for Sunday November 3rd from Mega J to Pigeon Island. Wave Announcers TC Brown and Masana have pledged their personal support as co- hosts of the event which starts at 6am.

Monies raised from the campaign are donated to the National Community Foundation (NCF) to help fund treatment such as lumpectomies, chemotherapy, radiation and mastectomies for women who need this level of support.

CFL and Faces of Cancer continue to team up in the fight

A mammogram (or x-ray picture of the breast) is used to look for early signs of breast cancer. This test can reduce a woman’s risk of dying from breast cancer, by detecting this cancer when it is more easily treated and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. However low-income women are often faced with varying competing priorities related to day-to-day survival and this can make preventive health care a low priority.

With this in mind Faces of Cancer, a local cancer support group is stepping up its programme of awareness and cancer prevention and reduction initiatives. The group organizes an annual health fair, which includes free screening and with support from corporate St. Lucia, the cost of mammograms are covered for a number of women who are unable to afford this test.

sancha raggie presents cheque to faces of Cancer

sancha raggie presents cheque to faces of Cancer

During the launch of the 2013 Yoplait Save Lids and Walk Campaign, the group received some much needed support from Consolidated Foods Ltd. SanchaRaggie, CFL’s Marketing Manager presented a cheque of EC $1500.00 to the group to cover the cost of mammograms for ten women.

President of  FOC, Mrs. Dorothy Phillip who is a breast cancer survivor, says regular mammograms are the best tests doctors have to find breast cancer early, sometimes up to three years before it can be felt. When  breast cancer is found early, many women go on to live long and healthy lives.

She explains that “Although less common, men also can get breast cancer, as they too have breast tissue. Therefore men should also make it a habit of examining their breasts, to detect any changes such as lumps, a discharge or change in the shape of the breasts.”

Faces of Cancers is a focused on helping newly diagnosed patients, those in treatment, survivors and terminal patients, while creating awareness of breast cancer through education. Some of their interventions include accompanying newly diagnosed patients to their doctor’s visits, providing comfort and teaching coping skills. For patients undergoing treatment, the group provides chemotherapy support and household support (house cleaning, grocery shopping and meals).

The general public is encouraged to support the health fair on Saturday October 26, at the Castries Town Hall and obtain more information on breast cancer and cancer in general.

World Food Day

St. Lucia observes October 16
CFL initiates “Building a Healthier Nation with farmers”

Although the Agriculture, Health and the Nutrition sectors all seek to improve human well being, Agriculture is not often  positioned as a tool to address nutrition and health challenges. With moves by Consolidated Foods Ltd. to work with its registered farmers to strengthen this link, Mrs. Lisa Hunt-Mitchell, Chief Nutritionist attached to the Ministry of Health has challenged farmers to not only produce high quality crops, but also in high enough volumes to help sustain and build a healthier Saint Lucia. She  highlighted the importance of buying and eating local food produce and also urged CFL farmers to look towards alternative and more sustainable farming methods as well as crop diversification.

CFL spinach farmer

CFL spinach farmer

Mrs. Hunt Mitchell made the comments while addressing the company’s annual registered farmers meeting under the theme “Building a Healthier Nation with farmers”. As the island’s  largest buyer of Agriculture produce and leading supermarket retailer, much of what the nation is fed comes from the company’s supermarket shelves and in that context CFL’s Managing Director Martin Dorville has acknowledged the important role which the company plays in this regard.

Mr. Dorville says CFL recognises that opportunities exist for agriculture, especially local produce to contribute in a more profound way to better the health of  the wider population. He noted the importance of working with farmers and schools in agricultural development, while simultaneously educating customers about Food Nutrition and Healthy eating as some of the main priority areas for the company.

CFL registered farmer-Mr. Balthazar Joseph

CFL registered farmer-Mr. Balthazar Joseph

“This is an area that our Produce Department  has been making some inroads in, and we now want to focus on this in a more strategic way. Working in partnership with our farmers, we want to position ourselves to make a real difference through targeted initiatives that enhance Agricultural production, Food Nutrition and Health and place greater focus on the production of traditional crops which are becoming more and more scare due to among issues inconsistencies in the weather patterns. We also understand the value of sensitizing customers on issues relating to healthy diets and lifestyle and so we continue to work closely with farmers, schools, our staff and the Ministry of Agriculture in that regard”.

No doubt the company’s efforts at encouraging farmers to increase the production of crops that contribute to food nutrition is beginning to bear fruit. A visit to the produce section of many company’s supermarkets (Super J IGA, Mega J and gl food market)  would reveal kale, cayenne peppers, guavas, rosemary, basil, among other locally grown  crops. In fact many of CFL farmers are using the company’s Farmer’s Loan Programme to engage in production of these types of crops to ensure that customers have readily available quality local nutritious fruits and vegetables.

CFL Managing Director - Martin Dorville

CFL Managing Director – Martin Dorville

Minister of Agriculture, Food Production, Fisheries and Rural Development Honourable Moses Jn. Baptiste who was also present at the meeting acknowledged that “if we are not food secure, it poses a problem for national security and so  the whole world is focusing on food security”. He therefore commended CFL on recognising the importance of continuously meeting with and engaging farmers on various aspects of food production including food nutrition. He was very pleased by the importance attached to increasing customer awareness of health issues and  healthy eating, as it relates to Agriculture.

Apart from Health and Nutrition, CFL’s meeting with farmers touched on a range of issues including cost management, better production planning for product availability, farmer certification and issues relating to praedial larceny. Nutmeg, cloves, thyme, cilantro, pigeon peas, collard greens, watercress, beets and packaged hot peppers were among the opportunities for growth as a result of customer demand

I Pledge

“I pledge”- that’s the theme for the 2013 Yoplait Cancer Campaign

October is breast cancer awareness month and for the past five years Consolidated Foods Limited and the Yoplait brand of yogurt have teamed up to present the Save Lids to Save Lives Campaign and Yoplait Walk for Cancer, to raise awareness and much needed funds for breast cancer.

Over the past five (5) years through the support of St. Lucia, these campaigns have helped to raise over $120,000 dollars to support the institutions that assist women affected by breast cancer.

CFL Senior Management with ECFH officials at launch of campaign

CFL Senior Management with ECFH officials at launch of campaign

This year’s theme is “I pledge” and the public is invited to pledge their part to help the cause, as small actions can make a big difference.

Addressing the launch on Tuesday morning CFL’s Marketing Manager SanchaRaggie identified some of the ways in which the public can pledge their support:

“You can purchase a Yoplait Yogurt as part of the The Save Lids to Save Lives campaign which is an easy and impactful way in which to support. Yoplait and CFL will donate 10 cents for every 6 oz. Yoplait cup purchased island wide during the period October 1st to November 17th. Then you can Register for the Yoplait walk for Cancer– which is now in its 6th year.  We will be walking from Mega J to Pigeon Island on November 3rd, at 6:00am and registration is only $15 at Super J IGA Supermarkets, Mega J or glfoodmarket.”

Ms. Raggie also encouraged the public to pledge by participating  in the Cancer awareness, fundraising and prevention activities of the local support groups such as Faces of Cancer and Reach to Recovery.

“You can also encourage your friends and family to do the same as a little goes a long way. Most importantly pledge to take care of yourself and to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle, as the experts tell us that this is important in reducing the risk of breast cancer,” said Raggie.

The official launch saw various companies, business houses and organization pledging their support to the campaign. The proceeds generated from the two activities will be donated to the National Community Foundation to assist women in need of chemotherapy, radiography, PET scans and other treatments.