Auckland, New Zealand – 8th October 2019 – Jerk meat, Jamaican patties, scotch bonnet peppers, ackee and saltfish all effortlessly conjure up images of Jamaica, a lazy tropical paradise where off-beat reggae music fills the air and life is good. For New Zealanders, Jamaica’s cuisine is an exotic taste trip to the other side of the world and a refreshingly different, laid-back culture.
However, easy access to firm favourites may soon disappear – unless Jamaican foodies get together and support a crowdfunding initiative to save New Zealand’s most prominent supplier of Jamaican food, Uncle Larry’s. Kiwis don’t just love the spicy taste of Uncle Larry’s West Indian food, but also admire the Jamaican’s incredible work ethic, which saw him interviewed by the New Zealand Herald.
The launch of Save the Taste of Jamaica Down Under, a fundraiser to save the Jamaican catering service and restaurant, which has launched on GoFundMe, means that people can now help to keep Uncle Larry open. The campaign, which seeks to raise £200,000 for rebuilding factory facilities, comes as Uncle Larry’s founder, Larry Clarke, suffers from ill health that threatens the future of the business.
Clarke, who founded the business at the age of 62 in 2010, started out manufacturing and distributing food products to stores, but soon grew to include a restaurant and food stall pop-ups at music festivals due to popular demand.
“My father put his heart and soul into growing the business, but his heart attack and subsequent open-heart surgery have prevented him from working since 2015; it’s really the last thing he would have wanted. As a result, the closure of Uncle Larry’s is a very real threat – and terrible news for kiwis who love Jamaican food,” said Nicole Clarke, Larry’s daughter.
“We have all our production equipment and are in discussions with grocers – but we desperately need funds to rebuild our factory facilities. I decided to launch this GoFundMe to support my father in his hour of need, to preserve his legacy return the support Dad showed me when I needed it most.”
Nicole isn’t coming down under alone: she is bringing her five children – one of whom has cystic fibrosis – with her. Nicole’s mission is as personal as it is pragmatic; when double tragedy hit the family in 2013 with the death of Nicole’s Mother and Uncle, Larry flew from New Zealand to the United Kingdom to support her.
“New Zealand and Jamaica are some 12,784 kilometres apart, a massive journey that spans over half the world – and a long way to go for meat patties!” added Nicole. “The success of this fundraiser means that New Zealanders will be able to continue to enjoy the unique flavours of Jamaican cuisine – as well as benefit from the enrichment that cultural sharing brings.” For more information and to join in and contribute to the GoFundMe campaign, please visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/save-the-taste-of-jamaica-down-under, or watch the YouTube video below. For all general and media inquiries, please contact Nicole Clarke at +44(0)7922 178 297 or firstname.lastname@example.org