Friday, May 22, 2020
• The headline for this story has been corrected – it originally said ‘Emergency food given to 270,000’.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
BAHAMAS Feeding Network Executive Director Philip Smith estimated the organisation has served about 273,000 meals to Bahamians over a two- month period during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The organisation gave 100 parcels last week to Biminites to prepare for the island’s 14-day lockdown and yesterday another 100 parcels were being arranged for an expected shipment for Tuesday.
According to Mr Smith, $273,000 in donations purchased about 7,800 parcels since March which provides food for approximately 39,000 people. He explained the parcels consist of around 14 dry items and feeds five people two meals for one week.
Individuals in Nassau crowded around the old Island Trading Building’s door on Claridge Road where these parcels were being distributed. People walked out with a bag full of food such as canned goods and cereal.
Emmanuel Gieveuille, 38, was one of those people who successfully walked out with items for his household. He and his spouse are both unemployed, but have had loved ones helping them as well as churches.
He said: “It’s been very difficult because I have been trying to get some kind of funds from NIB since March and now we are almost in June. So NIB has not been helpful at all so thank God for friends and family that have been providing funds for me and my family.”
He was grateful to BFN for aiding those affected by the crisis, but realises the amount of food given will run out soon considering the number of people in his family.
“To be honest, this will last me about five days. So that’s why I still gotta go out there and try to get other means for help because you know I have four kids to feed. So, whenever this run out I still gotta go back out there and try find food,” Mr Gieveuille said.
Natasha Adderley has also had trouble finding steady work until recently. She said the parcel she received, which had rice, sugar, grits, and canned mackerel along with other food, was timely.
“Where me and my sons weren’t working, my partner, he still had a job coming in,” she said of her situation. “So we. . .at least you could pay some light. We could pay something on the rent. We were one of the lucky ones. We kinda still had something coming in. It wasn’t what we used to but we still had something coming in so we just thankful.”
Mr Smith is also a member of the newly formed government food security task force. The president is Susan Larson and the majority of the members are from charities specialising in feeding the population.