Community bars have built on the lessons from the Partner Plan and JWN sponsors 53 Round Robin (RR) Groups spanning the entire country, each comprising an average of 25 members. Because of their organization and direct connection with ordinary citizens, RR Groups can be used as a force for good in their communities.
JWN’s Commercial Director for Jamaica & the Caribbean, Michelle Brown-Sinclair said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had an acute impact on rural and small communities where Community bars are significant contributors to the local economies and provide a space to de-stress and relax for many residents. Recognizing that employees and patrons of community bars are now fighting for survival, we at JWN have decided to provide each of our sponsored Round Robin (RR) president with approximately 100 food packages to distribute in their communities based on the need they are seeing. We are therefore distributing over 5000 packages consisting of basic food items that have been packaged by our partner, the “Lasco Chin Foundation.”
Continuing, Brown-Sinclair said “this, while a significant financial investment, isn’t a complete solution and so we will be working with our partners and our Round Robins to try and leverage more support for those in need. We are committed to offering support through these groups because we know the potential of community bar and its impact. After all, we remember that J. Wray and Nephew Limited, a major contributor to GDP and a champion of brand Jamaica had its genesis as a community bar with Wray’s Tavern in Down Town Kingston.”
There are approximately 10,000 community bars operating in Jamaica, each directly employing between 3-5 persons. For those that depend on bars for their livelihood, questions about how to feed their families and where to turn for support are top of mind following the closure of bars on March 18, 2020.
Speaking on JWN’s support for the network, Channel and Customer Marketing Director, Leleika-Dee Barnes said “Community bars and Round Robins are a big part of the JWN family, they are our strongest link with the Jamaican people as they provide a space for us to #shareourspirt. We are empowering our Round Robins to be change makers by giving back to Jamaica. Community bars are also a hub for the exchange of information; and a portal for insight into the lives, challenges and realities of our citizens. We are #strongertogether and we want them to know that JWN is here for them during this time”.