NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) yesterday thanked Royal Caribbean for “keeping its promise to help fight hunger in The Bahamas” with a donation that helped to provide an estimated 800,000 meals to Bahamians in need.
The BFN in a statement said the cruise line’s donation was “more essential than ever before in the wake of growing hunger as a result of pandemic-related unemployment and layoffs”.
BFN Executive Director Philip Smith said, “With cruise operations halted in mid-March, we would not have been surprised if support for the Bahamas Feeding Network was put on hold or canceled.
“I think it speaks volumes about Royal Caribbean’s corporate culture and its commitment to The Bahamas that somehow our partner found a way to keep support for the feeding program alive.”
Smith added: “When we received the donation from Royal Caribbean International at the end of the second quarter in the midst of the pandemic this year, and then another in the third quarter and the last one just recently, I was blown away. We just cannot thank Royal Caribbean enough.”
The executive director estimated the cruise line donation provided some 800,000 meals for those struggling with hunger on New Providence, Grand Bahama and several Family Islands.
“I just want Royal Caribbean to know that so many people want to say thank you to them and so do we,” he said. “We provided more than six million meals this year and 800,000 of them were because of you. We could not have done this without you.”
According to the BFN, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, “one in every six to seven people in The Bahamas struggled with hunger” — a figure Smith said “reached nearly one in every two during the worst of the business lockdowns when unemployment hit 40 percent”.
“It’s terrible. You go into some houses and they show you a single cupboard in the kitchen and there is nothing in it except maybe a spoonful of rice in a bag,” Smith said.
“Mothers are cutting milk for their babies with water, soaking bread in it. It breaks your heart.”