By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
OFFICIALS from the Bahamas National Feeding Network yesterday continued to fulfil its promise to combat hunger in the country by donating a total of $40,000 in food vouchers to more than 40 local feeding organisations.
BNFN executive director, Philip Smith, speaking during a ceremonial luncheon, called the donation “a necessary calling” as he explained the organisation’s hope of sponsoring as many as 60,000 hot meals to people in need.
He said: “In a land of sunshine, there is another darker, sadder world.”
Statistics released in 2013 revealed a steady increase in persons living below the poverty level. In 2001, the national poverty rate stood at 9.3 per cent increasing by 2013 to 12.5 per cent.
The absolute poverty line stands at $4,247 annually.
Mr Smith suggested that more should be done by governmental and private groups to generate a solution to this “ever-growing issue”.
He said: “These are people who have either lost their jobs or lost their way, grown too old to work or too neglected to be noticed. They face hunger on an everyday basis.”
BNFN pioneer, H E Frank Crothers, made a point to clarify the organisation’s affiliation. He said that the group is not dedicated to a specific church or outreach programme.
Mr Crothers added: “We are dedicated to the mission of supplying food to those that need it, no matter how near or far they are. The Bahamas National Feeding network is working to bring an end to hunger.”
“In keeping with that concept, I am delighted to announce that from here on in I will be responsible for any and all administrative expenses accrued by BNFN. The mission is to end hunger and to do that every dollar is needed. I want every dollar donated to this organisation to go to that case,” he said.
Jephter Stubbs, representative for the Bahamas Red Cross, said the food voucher received from BNFN would help the organisation in its feeding programme. Mr Stubbs explained that every dollar received by the Red Cross is “immediately converted” into supplying meals.
Mr Stubbs serves as the Red Cross’ finance officer and indicated that they spend between $5,000 and $10,000 a week on their meals on wheels programme, which supplies hundred of free meals everyday to persons in need.
Mr Smith added: “This process touches everyone. It is truly amazing because everyone involved feels the love. Whether you are handing over a plate of food to a person in need or you are the person receiving that plate of food. I hand out nearly 400 plates on Sundays and one thing is for certain when unconditional love is exchanged, the giver and receiver is healed.”
• The Feeding Network has urged anyone wanting to help rid the Bahamas of hunger to contact them on 676-2626 or via email at info@BNFN.org.