NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Bahamas Salvation Army, thanks to collective donations of nearly $500,000 from the Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation and CIBC FirstCaribbean, continues its work to support Bahamians impacted by Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic even as it launches its “Rescue Christmas” campaign in time for the holiday season.
“The Salvation Army, since 1931 has served the community and continues its work to support the most vulnerable in the community, bolstered by a series of donations from the Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation totaling more than $460,000,” noted the NGO in a statement released yesterday.
“The lingering socioeconomic devastation wrought by Hurricane Dorian, coupled with the economic fallout of the ongoing health crisis, has led to a new population of families and individuals facing unemployment and financial hardships. Recent data from the National Insurance Board (NIB) showed that thousands of Bahamians are currently unemployed and receiving national insurance benefits. Since March 2020, the Salvation Army has assisted more than 14,360 people.”
Salvation Army Associate Community Relations Director Melanease Coakley noted, “This year we have seen an unprecedented level of need. However, thanks to the invaluable donations from the public and organizations like the Canadian Lyford Cay Foundation, we have been able to amplify our efforts to support the thousands of Bahamians who are experiencing difficult financial times due to the global pandemic.”
Meanwhile, as of December 1, the Salvation Army has begun its “iconic ringing of the red kettle bell” which for many signals the official return of the Christmas season.
“With a steep increase in unemployment and need locally and the world over, the Salvation Army is focused on its mission to ‘Rescue Christmas’ and provide help and hope for those in the community who are most vulnerable,” read a statement by the organization.
The campaign is supported by a $7,500 donation from CIBC FirstCaribbean, which has partnered with the Salvation Army for the past three years, “generously donating to various programs that provide much-needed assistance to those in need”.
In the age of social distancing brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, this year will see “the familiar red kettles…positioned at various retail locations, with volunteer ringers adhering to strict social distancing and sanitation protocols”.
“This year, the Salvation Army has also launched a QR code quick pay system at all Kettle Bell locations to facilitate contactless, cashless donations,” the statement continued.
It added, “The Salvation Army’s familiar red kettles help raise funds for their annual Christmas Cheer Program, which provides hot meals for individuals and families, toys for disadvantaged children and personal care products for the elderly and institutionalized during the holiday season.
“This year, with a goal of raising $100,000, community support is especially important as the demand for assistance has increased tremendously in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board Felix Stubbs expressed gratitude to the Salvation Army’s donors and signaled the need for more support from both corporate Bahamas and individuals given the increase in need.
“In the past year, The Bahamas has faced many challenges,” he said. “In addition to Hurricane Dorian’s detrimental effects, we now also face the economic hardships brought about by the COVID-19 global pandemic. There are many more people in need, and we need your help to assist those greatly in need.”
Interested parties may visit salvationarmybahamas.org or call the Salvation Army at 393-2340 for more information.