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Food Aid Programme To End Next Month

SOCIAL Services Minister Frankie Campbell.

SOCIAL Services Minister Frankie Campbell.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net 

THE government’s national food distribution programme will end next month, Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said yesterday.

He told reporters more than 50,000 families across the country have benefited since the initiative was launched to provide emergency food assistance for vulnerable Bahamians affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $13 million has been injected in the programme to date.

The initiative had previously been extended, but yesterday Mr Campbell said it is drawing to an end, as officials hope the further reopening of the economy next month will reduce the need for widespread food assistance.

“The National Food Distribution Taskforce timeframe was to operate in the last week in May to the end of August…and as such, the government of The Bahamas has committed to the continued partnership to the end of October 2020,” he added.

“The process of feeding our fellow brothers and sisters remains a major priority for the government of The Bahamas. Therefore, we will advise that persons in need of food assistance can apply to the Department of Social Services as well as many other non-governmental organisations which provide food assistance to the most vulnerable.”

The food assistance programme began in early June to help families in need. The initiative was initially set to end in late August, but was later extended due to a high demand.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said last month that his administration was providing $1m to the task force each week to help people who need food during the COVID-19 crisis.

“To date, the government has provided funds in the amount of $13,225,34,” Mr Campbell said at his ministry’s press conference yesterday. “The National Food Distribution Taskforce has distributed food parcels and vouchers to approximately 55,078 households throughout the Bahamas up to September 12.

“The need for continued food assistance through the taskforce is still of paramount importance.”

In terms of assistance from the Department of Social Services, Mr Campbell said nearly 10,000 people have received food assistance from the government agency recently.

In Grand Bahama, he said 4,850 residents have benefitted from the department’s emergency food assistance programme, with costs totaling at $437,713.

However, in recent months, he said officials have seen a decline in requests for food assistance “as many of the department’s clients utilised the Feed Grand Bahama online initiative offered by the Bahamas government in response to the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, as it relates to other Family Islands, Mr Campbell said 5,286 residents on those islands had received food assistance from the Department of Social Services between the months of April and August.

The total cost, he said, amounted to $843,639.

During yesterday’s press conference, Mr Campbell also thanked the NGOs and those in the private sector for partnering with the government in the programme.

He also urged Bahamians to take the COVID-19 threat seriously and follow all the health protocols.

In doing so, the minister suggested that more restrictions could be further relaxed allowing the country to jumpstart its economy, which could then reduce the need for food assistance.

He made the remarks when asked what the government’s response would be if there was still a need for emergency food items in October when the programme comes to an end.

He said: “Truly it is my hope that the appeals that are being sent from various ministers, the prime minister in particular, in asking for persons to adhere to protocols and for persons to take the kind of personal responsibility to help us reduce the transmission and enable us to safely re-open the economy in particular the tourism sector that generates much of our funds that will reduce the need for persons to be seeking the food assistance.

“Food, shelter and clothing — I believe in that same order are man’s basic necessities and as a government we are obliged to do all we can to provide that for as many as we can for as long as we can.”

Comments

tell_it_like_it_is 1 month ago

Writing is on the wall. The government resources are down to nothing!! SMH

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tribanon 1 month ago

Frankie Campbell said: “The process of feeding our fellow brothers and sisters remains a major priority for the government of The Bahamas."

The major priority of the government should always be the creation of an environment conducive to job growth in the locally owned (not foreign owned) private sector so that most Bahamians could find decent paying employment opportunities to feed themselves and their families. But our most incompetent and power crazed PM, wants the vast majority of us to be dependent on him for handouts if we behave ourselves in his eyes. Minnis and his entire cabinet must be banished by the voters from politics come the next election, if not sooner.

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Chucky 1 month ago

Statistics prove the foreign owned businesses pay Bahamians 35% more than Bahamian owned businesses. Additionally the foreign owned businesses bring and provide modern skills to the Bahamian worker, where Bahamian owned business does not.

Give your head a shake and open your eyes; quit your xenophobic views and learn something.

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DWW 1 month ago

Ah yes, the statistics. they are never skewed to an outcome

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Chucky 1 month ago

You idiot.

So you think Bahamian employers pay near as well as foreign?

That will be the day. What a joke!

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tribanon 1 month ago

For decades we've had a policy of granting work permits to foreigners with the understanding Bahamians would be adequately trained so that the work permits could eventually come to an end. That certainly has not worked out so well for Bahamians employed outside of the ever shrinking financial services sector. We need to start believing in ourselves and what we can achieve as Bahamians with the right kind of government. Sadly, the Minnis-led FNM government is yet another administration that seems to worship everything foreign while frowning on or castigating everything Bahamian.

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alfalfa 1 month ago

Surely the Minister can not be referring to this proposed border opening on Oct. 15, as being an economical stimulus large enough to eliminate the need for food, and other assistance. It is naive to think that we will have any tourist influx when, there is a negative covid test requirement; visitors are required to quarantine for fourteen days; there are no major resorts opening; and there are no activities such as tours, watersports, clubs, and casino's operating. There will be no cruise visitors until 2021 and our air arrivals will not even warrant the opening of one major resort. If the assistance discontinuation is being predicated around a tourist revenue rebound, there will be many hungry Bahamians. This type of statement is nonsensical.

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benniesun 1 month ago

alfalfa - I agree that the statement is nonsensical, and it shows a lack of knowledge on the ministers part. I have repeatedly posted in this forum that the Bahamas is on the verge of food shortage and starvation due to

  • extreme weather conditions destroying crops worldwide; nasa has recently confirmed that we are in a grand solar minimum (GSM) period which causes exterme weather. Some say the (GSM) extreme weather will last for 10 years.

  • rodent and locust infestations in various countries including the usa

  • the plandemic has caused farmers to destroy crops and livestock; many field workers and meat packing workers etc are sidelined so less food is available worldwide.

Also, the unrest in the usa is projected to become worse in November and continue until possibly September 2021.

This minister represents the government which makes his statement and the government's position unreal.

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TalRussell 1 month ago

Is this the same Comrade Frankie who thinks he's above having to stand to give an answer before sentencing judge as to just yesterday Sunday why 'em knowingly did, in fact, attend what must best be described as an illegal numbers in attendance staged funeral?
Why the one decreed law for the politically House=elected, appointed, hired, privileged and forced live under authoritarian rule all others **that jails the Homeless and threatens the freedom coconut water sellers. You'd have try really, really hard to make this placed under lockup authoritarian rule stuff up. Just couldn't. A nod of Once for Yeah, Twice for No?

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joeblow 1 month ago

The only thing I want to hear from Frankie is the results of a DNA test comparing him to his 'fathers' immediate next of kin!

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SP 1 month ago

Food Aid Programme To End Next Month = Crime Will Greatly Escalate End Next Month!

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Misspratt242 1 month ago

This is of great concern for my Bahamian people, yes this programme donated to thousands of people and it ran for a good length of time, and I am sure Bahmians were greatful. But something still has to be done, thousands of people are still hurting and out of jobs. I know the government wants to open the country next month, but there will still be thousands of persons unemployed. That is mainly the persons in the tourism sector, the country is opening but the hotels refuse to open. Help is still needed, just as much as the first day the help was started. Social service is not going to be the answer, they turn people away. They want to give persons one coupon and than say we will call you back and they won't ever call

Once your name goes in their system to say you got a coupon before that' is it. People cant live of one coupon and that's it. They dont even give the coupon on a monthly basis. And you have to practically beg for it What's gonna happen to your fellow BAHAMIAN. No food, no water, no clothing, no job, no government funding. Continue to help your people. We need you This is the time for the people

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