CARS lined up for the distribution of coupons in Grand Bahama.
Photo: Denise Maycock/Tribune Staff
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE final distribution of coupons to the nearly 4,000 persons registered with the national feeding programme in Grand Bahama is being carried out under the direction of the Department of Social Services.
Charlamae Fernander, deputy director of the DSS in the Northern Bahamas, reported that 3,722 Grand Bahama residents are currently on the feeding programme. The distribution of coupons under this initiative will come to an end in early December.
“This morning, we want to advise the general public that the Department of Social Services has assumed the responsibility for the final set of distribution for the national feeding programme in Grand Bahama,” she said yesterday at the St George’s gym.
Distributions are now taking place at the St George’s High School gymnasium for registered persons who reside in Central and East Grand Bahama and at the Eight Mile Rock High School gymnasium for those in West Grand Bahama.
“We are distributing the remaining coupons…to those persons who are on the list provided by the national feeding programme,” she said. “And because there have been some questions concerning this exercise, we wish to advise that persons currently on the Social Services food assistance programme would not qualify for this exercise.”
Ms Fernander explained that only those on the national feeding programme who do not receive assistance from the DSS are qualified.
She stated that those on the Social Services food assistance programme have already received their coupons for the month of September.
“The help is now to provide assistance to other persons who have not been able to access the food assistance they need through the Social Services programme as yet,” she said.
Once the national feeding programme exercise is completed, the deputy director said that food assistance will be provided through the DSS exclusively.
Ms Fernander said people have to apply on the Promise Portal at promise.gov.bs to register and then apply for the assistance they need.
“So, persons can continue to get ongoing assistance as they need it,” she said.
“The distribution of coupons from the national feeding programme, we expect to complete this exercise by early December. And thereafter, persons can receive assistance through the Department of Social Services so we urge persons to begin applying now if they think they will need food assistance thereafter,” she said.
Fran Brice, the chief welfare officer and manager of the DSS community support division, said the hours of distribution take place between 9.30am and 3.30pm.
She reported that 182 persons received coupons on the first day of distribution, which started on Monday.
The chief welfare officer indicated that persons whose names do not appear on the list at the door would be advised and directed to their website where you can sign up for ongoing assistance. They can also go to the department located in the Sun Coral Plaza or at the EMR office.
“We will have a second and final distribution of coupons the last week of November and the first week of December,” she said.
Ms Fernander said the coupons have expiration dates. She urged people to pay attention to those dates.
“The coupons are the same ones presented all along. If you present them after the expiration date we will not be able to issue a new coupon, so you must use them at the expiration date,” she said.
The deputy director noted that there is a high number of persons who are not registered showing up to collect coupons.
“I am sure it must be frustrating to wait for a long time on the line only to find out they do not qualify. We are hoping to prevent that from happening going forward.
“There will be no double-dipping,” she said. “We have 3,722 persons who were not receiving assistance from Social Services, and there was a large number applying for both. But we can’t double-dip. You can only get from one or the other,” said Ms Fernander.