CHUKKA has always been close to the communities in which it operates. John grew up playing at an oceanfront property at Sandy Bay, west of Montego Bay. Up the hill from Sandy Bay, in the seven-year riverside floodplain, lies Pumpkin Bottom, a rural community where John made many friends as a child, riding horses in the hills, swimming in the saltwater, and fishing with makeshift poles.
At one time, the main road traveled a circuitous oceanfront route, and farmers routinely cut across the Sandy Bay property. John and his childhood friends imposed small “taxes” on the shortcut, collecting yams and cassava from the kind farmers passing through. John exchanged some of the yams for fish and other fixings, and the children repurposed a huge kerosene can as a pot for a stew. Everyone contributed what they had, and everyone ate out of the same pot.
That same sense of community permeates CHUKKA today. When the river breached its banks in 2012, as it does every seven years, Pumpkin Bottom was destroyed and its community suffered terrible losses. CHUKKA donated food and shelter and helped the community rebuild its homes.
The Chukka Foundation, the philanthropic arm of CHUKKA, strives to be responsible to communities in which we live and work, recognizing that as a large organization, we have a great capacity to make a difference. The Chukka Foundation believes strongly in developing relationships and partnering closely with the rural and local schools offering support where possible. Providing assistance with back to school supplies and equipment for classrooms has been an annual commitment. Through the Carvell McDonald Memorial Scholarship established in 2017, financial assistance has been awarded to students to help with their academic studies. Initiatives in partnership with the St. James Police Division in St. James, establishing a School Breakfast Feeding Program for the children of the challenging inner city community. CHUKKA prioritizes the health care sector and purchasing medical equipment
CHUKKA’s commitment to its community is reflected in its offerings to our guests as well. Because CHUKKA tours are designed to give its guests a taste of the real Caribbean, 30% of tour guides are hired from the immediately surrounding areas. Also, ATV, dune buggy, and 4×4 tours explore not only the lush rainforest and stunning trails but also the beloved communities in the area.