Govt. commits to support food distribution program until end of October

Govt. commits to support food distribution program until end of October
Minister of Social Services and Urban Development Frankie Campbell during his report on COVID-19 Initiatives yesterday. (BIS Photo/Ulric Woodside)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government has provided more than $13.2 million to the National Food Distribution Programme (NFDP) to date, according to Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell.

The program – which is a private-public partnership with numerous non-governmental organizations – was launched to help provide food assistance to the most vulnerable in the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

During a report on his ministry’s work yesterday, Campbell noted that the program has distributed food parcels and vouchers to approximately 55,078 households up to September 12.

While the task force’s time frame was to operate from the last week in May to the end of August, the minister advised that the continued partnership has been extended to the end of October 2020.

Campbell said the government has provided $13,225,321 to the program thus far.

“The need for continued food assistance through the task force is still of paramount importance,” he said.

“…The process of feeding our fellow brothers and sisters remains a major priority for the government of The Bahamas.

Campbell urged people in need of assistance to apply at the Department of Social Services as well as the NFDP.

“It should be noted however that person is not intended to receive from both entities,” he added.

In August, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis revealed the government was supporting the National Food Distribution Task Force with $1 million per week to assist more than 110,000 people.

Yesterday, Campbell also outlined the government’s emergency food assistance provided to Bahamians through the Department of Social Services.

He noted that some 2,293 people were assisted at a cost of $270,600 due to the emergency in the hospitality industry, where workers were placed on reduced work weeks in March.

Campbell said there was a steady increase in the request for assistance due to COVID-19 and its impact on the economy of Gand Bahama.

He advised that during March-August, there was an increase in demand for rental assistance and a steady increase for financial assistance for utilities as a result of individuals being furloughed or terminated due to the economic fallout of the pandemic.

He noted, however, that during the months of July and August, there was a decline in the request for emergency food assistance, as many of the department’s clients utilized the Feed Grand Bahama initiative.

Campbell said 4,850 persons benefited from the department’s emergency food assistance at a cost of $437,713.

As for the rest of the Family Islands, he said the islands where the tourism industry was more vibrant were more negatively impacted.

He advised that between April and August, assistance was provided to 5,286 people on the Family Islands at a cost of $843,639.44.

 

Additionally, the social services minister said the government also partnered with 16 non-governmental organizations in 14 Family Island districts and spent a total of $31,000 to assist with feeding programs.