NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday revealed the government is supporting the National Food Distribution Task Force with $1 million per week to assist more than 110,000 people.
Now entering its 11th week, Minnis advised the task force will move to restructure aid into three categories: most, moderately and least vulnerable; with assistance to be distributed weekly, bi-weekly, and once a month, respectively.
The prime minister said 27,705 households have registered for assistance, to date.
“Access to food is a basic human right,” Minnis said during his national address on Sunday.
“Around the world, and here at home, people who have been self-sufficient their entire lives are now struggling to feed themselves and their families.
“Ensuring that our people in need are being helped is one of our leading priorities. We are investing heavily in food assistance.”
He continued: “I understand the unique situation so many of you find yourselves in, never imagining that you would ever have to seek assistance to have enough to eat.
“It is important, at this point in the program, to emphasize that first and foremost the Task Force is implementing a needs-based program.
“We have set out to help those in our communities who are the most vulnerable.”
Minnis said he asked the task force to reach out to smaller 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,” he said.
During his address, Minnis noted the budget allocation of $16 million dollars for food assistance.
“Your government is delivering on this commitment,” he said.
“We are now providing $1 million dollars per week to the National Food Distribution Task Force for food assistance, to ensure those who are truly in need of food are being helped.
“Our Food Task Force is making every effort to preserve safety and dignity.”
Minnis noted an interaction with an individual who registered for assistance but later advised they were no longer in need.
“We are so grateful to people like Mr. Knowles, who I am told registered for food assistance but recently wrote back to the Task Force saying, “I am well and God has provided me with more than enough, so I don’t need any further assistance. Please provide it to those in need”.”
“Mr. Knowles’ noble action enables the Task Force to stretch the budget and help those who really need it most.”
Minnis added: “We thank Mr. Knowles and others like him, who understand that even in these difficult times, there are those who are in deep, deep need while others are not struggling as much.”