By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
AN official from a local charitable organisation said while the need for food assistance has decreased, there are still about 9,000 families or 36,000 individuals in dire need of help.
“Prior to the end or right up to the end of the government’s Food Distribution Task Force, the entire country or all of the groups that were involved, there were six of us, were servicing 18,000 families… 72,000 individuals,” Bahamas Feeding Network Executive Director Philip Smith said yesterday.
“So I would imagine that that would’ve probably decreased today by probably 50 percent and so I imagine there are still probably 9,000 families or 36,000 individuals that are still in dire need of assistance,” he told reporters.
The national task force has been disbanded and its work absorbed into the Ministry of Social Services. Mr Smith said he was not aware of how the government was handling the programme, but he said food assistance needs to continue in earnest.
“At this point, I don’t know what the government is doing, but I would like to implore them to get the programme going and I think in Grand Bahama they have it going already. There’s not a whole lot going on in Nassau here from the government standpoint that I can see, but I think it’s imperative that it gets going as quickly as possible because there are still a lot of people that are in need of food, not as many as when the pandemic started or even three months ago, because people have gone back to work.
“But I think it’s imperative to assist those persons who are still experiencing hunger... because a lot of people are still affected by the pandemic and we need to get something going.”
He spoke on the sidelines of an event where BFN and the Rotary Clubs donated $35,000 to 11 organisations — six of which got $5,000 and five received $1,000 each. The recipients include The Salvation Army and Bilney Lane Children’s Home.
Mt Olive Baptist also received a donation. The church’s pastor Rev C B Moss runs the Feeding Bain and Grants Town Project, which recently suffered a blow as thieves have stolen food and equipment from a storage facility. He told The Tribune that he faced a $10,000 bill to cover the cost of the damage, stolen items and food that the culprits made off with.
Jacqueline Dorsett, of the church, expressed gratitude for the donation.
“The donation comes in time when it is really needed. We have lost thousands of dollars in food items plus other tangible things. We’ve been doing this on our own from donations through Bahamians you know who have helped us even for the past 20 years,” she explained
Ray Nairn, administrator of the Elizabeth Estates Children’s Home, said the donation will help the home which houses 24 children ages 11-18.
“We surely make sure it goes a long way for keeping the children satisfied, fed, and well-nourished over the next few months or as long as it lasts,” he said.