What You Need To Know About the $16 Million Food Distribution Programme
The announcement that government provides $1 million dollars per week to the National Food Distribution Task Force for food assistance, was met with shock as many questioned whether or not the large sums of money were truly reaching the people in need.
Prime Minister Hubert Minnis revealed that $16 million dollars have been allotted in the budget for food assistance, to ensure those in need of food are being helped during the pandemic.
In its 11th week, it is reported to have helped 27,705 households registered for assistance, representing more than 110,000 people in the country.
Beneficiaries are assisted based on needs–most, moderate, least
The Task Force distributes on a needs-based program and are seeking to help the most vulnerable: the newly unemployed, self-employed individuals whose businesses are adversely affected, senior citizens unable to leave their homes because of the virus, school children who do not have sufficient food and some patients and those who provide them with care at home.
The Task Force will begin to apply criteria to help objectively place people who register into three needs categories.
- Most Vulnerable—assistance given every week
- Moderately Vulnerable—assistance given every other week
- Least Vulnerable—assistance given once a month
Some recipients are happy
Some recipients of the distribution have expressed gratitude while others say they have lost their sense of dignity waiting in line for food.
Joelean Williams joined the long queues at the Pentecostal Baptist Church in Nassau Village on Wednesday. She said, “This is a big help. This is really, really good for the people,” she said as she collected a gift certificate for groceries.
Williams said she has been unemployed since March as her position at a local restaurant was made redundant.
She said this is her first time receiving help by the government’s program. Williams said the assistance would go a long way to meet the needs of her household of eight.
Like Williams, Adrian Forbes said the food assistance helps his family of six, as he has been unemployed for the past two months.
His wife recently started a “small” job caring for a relative.
Forbes said the wait was worth it. “When you want something you have to wait for it. It is a help,” he added.
A hotel worker who did not want t be named, but was left unemployed due to the pandemic said the food package, “means the world to me.”
“All my life I have worked but this is the first time I am experiencing this [situation].I have six [family members] in my house. I was the only one working.
“You have to give God thanks in all things. I am not ungrateful,” she added.
She acknowledged that the volunteers are doing a good job but added that the process was a bit hectic.
Others are dissatisfied with the process
Others have expressed that they are not satisfied with the process but said Miranda Dorsette remains grateful.
The mother-of-three told the Tribune that the situation was depressing.
“I mean I realize they are trying to help us but this is like begging. I am used to working hard for what I get. The food is okay, I guess, but the thought of having to be in a line to get it… the whole thing is humiliating to me. I am doing it because I can’t do any better right now.
“I am in a position where my children’s father is not assisting me in any way and I am in need. I can’t go around breaking the law to provide for them, so I would rather get this and call it a day. I don’t want to come off as ungrateful as that man on the video said, so I say, thank God for it.”
Recipients to use vouchers at small and independent grocers
Dr. Minnis said he asked that the Food Task Force reach out to small grocery stores so that arrangements can be made for food vouchers to be purchased from stores throughout the country.
“We would like neighborhood ‘mom and pop shops’ to participate in, and benefit from this exercise with us.”