THE Bahamas National Feeding Network has distributed $100,000 – its largest single donation – to its members, allowing churches and feeding centres to continue the much-needed work in the communities.
The setting for the Bahamas National Feeding Network (BNFN) donation was the Frank Crothers Inaugural Best Practices Seminar, where some 60 feeding centres and churches gathered at the Melia Nassau Beach Resort for the opportunity to get firsthand accounts from the founder of an international civic organisation and local governmental agencies on ways to effectively manage the plight of hunger in the Bahamas.
With some 13 per cent of the population living below the poverty level of $4,247, the workshop helped shine light on what life is like for those who face the hurt and pain of hunger, for children who cannot concentrate in school because their stomachs are empty or the elderly who are too proud to beg for food.
“Feeding and care of the poor and hungry is the work of God and we must try to emulate his way,” Melanie Griffin, the Minister of Social Services and Community Development, said during her opening remarks. “This workshop is an effort to do that. I thank the Network for hosting this seminar and I’m happy that the Network doesn’t feel that Government alone is responsible for the current situation in our communities.”
Launched in 2013 and founded by Mr Crothers, Ambassador of the Order of Rhodes and Malta, the BNFN was developed to unify and organise the distribution of food items among the agencies in order to minimise the duplication of effort and increase the efficiency of the process.
“With so many organisations and feeding centres involved with the preparation of meals and distribution of food packages on a daily and weekly basis around the country, we thought it necessary to host a full day workshop where we can better understand the challenges of our member partners, the system and receive proven and effective methods of operation from the founder of a long running and successfully operating food bank in Atlanta through the person of Bill Bolling, past executive director of the Atlanta Community Food Bank, ” said Philip Smith, BNFN’s Executive Director. “Mr Bolling’s presentation provided incredible insight and demonstrated the benefits of some practices currently under consideration for implementation based on his mantra of Engage, Educate and Empower. A number of our members had concerns relating to the training of volunteers. As a result, we now have plans to begin a volunteer training programme.”
The workshop saw collaboration between member partners, sharing of ideas, resurgence of energies and an appreciation for the work of those attending. John Rolle, Financial Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, spoke about how charities are affected by Value Added Tax (VAT), saying that it’s through taxes that government’s fund activities.
Member partners of BNFN are the Bahamas Red Cross, Bethel Baptist Church, Brea Seventh-Day Adventist, Calvary Bible Church, Changes Ministries International, Church of God of Prophecy, Club Restoration, Cornerstone Zion Ministries, Cornerstone Haitian Church, Cornerstone Zion Christian Partners of Hope, Ebenezer Methodist Church, Eljay’s Hilltop Cottage Ministries, Family of Faith Ministry, Great Commission Ministries International, God Temple of Praise, Heal Our Land, Judea Baptist Church, Kingdom Ambassadors World Outreach Ministries, Lakeview Church of God, Low Sound Seventh-Day Adventist, Mosseff House, MCC Methodist Church, Mt Calvary Baptist Church, Mt Olive Baptist Church, Mt Paran Baptist Church, New Bethany Baptist Cathedral, New Life Restoration Ministries, New Mt Sinai Baptist Church, New Mount Zion Missionary Church, New Vision Ministries International, Operation SOLD, Pentecostal Baptist Church, Remnant Tabernacle of Praise, Sanctuary of the Redeem, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Shiloh Temple Baptist, Society of St Vincent de Paul, Solid Rock Church, South Andros Christian Centre, St Joseph’s Church, St Michael Catholic Church, Stephen Dillet School, The Anglican Diocese, The Salvation Army, Vision of Hope Cathedral, Wesley Methodist Church, World of Hope Ministry and Youth for God Through Christ.