NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Christmas season just got a little brighter for the Bahamas AIDS Foundation with the donation of more than 100 food boxes through a partnership with the IL Cares Foundation, Verizon Media Group (VMG) and Paramount Systems Limited (PSL).
AIDS Foundation President Camille Lady Barnett said the donation will impact some 40 families, around 150 people, who depend on the organization’s daily feeding programs that have been challenged due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have an outreach program for children and adolescents infected and affected by HIV and AIDS and when they come to us five days a week, we feed them,” Lady Barnett said.
“Once the COVID restrictions came into place we could no longer do that, so we decided that we would deliver food to them because one of the things we didn’t want to happen is for parents and guardians to be standing in long lines.”
She continued: “They are already vulnerable population, standing in long lines waiting for food and so we have been for the last nine months trying to find food and groceries for our clients and so this is absolutely fabulous we have 40 families that we feed once a week that we take groceries to once a week and there are about 150 persons who are impacted directly by receiving that food and so this is absolutely wonderful.”
Lady Barnett added: “I was saying earlier that our social worker can’t wait to get her hands on these boxes because it means for the next couple of weeks she doesn’t have to be going around trying to find or source food and groceries.”
The donation comes on the heels of IL Cares’ “Need to Feed” program and represents a deepening of the organization’s partnership with sister companies VMG and PSL.
However, VMG/PSL General Manager Gershan Major said the contribution was simply a “no-brainer”.
“When the AIDS Foundation reached out to us, we thought this was an excellent opportunity to evolve a partnership especially during this time when a lot of NGOs and other organizations similar to the AIDS Foundation are challenged because of fundraising and other initiatives (sidelined by COVID).
“We partnered with the IL Cares Foundation, and I want to thank our chairman Mr Sebas Bastian for agreeing to allow us to extend their food drive to the AIDS Foundation as we continue to increase this partnership and evolve.”
Major added: “For us, this makes our heart glad especially during this time of year when so much work that they’ve been doing has gone probably unnoticed or unheard of because of the focus on the COVID pandemic. So, we’re very very pleased to partner with Lady Camille Barnett and the team and I want to thank the team here at Verizon Media Group and Paramount Systems Limited and especially the team here at IL Cares Foundation to make this initiative happen.”
For her part, IL Cares Marketing Manager Michelle Fox said the foundation “jumped at the chance” to assist such a critical organization to the country.
“We started this (current) food drive last Thursday and again yesterday and when Mr Major approached me about assisting the AIDS organization it was just such an opportune time. As he mentioned, all of the focus has been on COVID but we still have these issues here that we need to bring attention to, and that we just can’t forget about.
“It’s not gone away and it was our pleasure to just jump in and assist the AIDS Foundation and Lady Camille Barnett.”
Fox added: “This is why we’re here, this is what we do, and we’ve donated over 100 boxes to assist families in need for their organization and I’m sure moving forward we will be here to assist them again.”