Over 1,700 persons from Mayaro and environs will benefit from BP Trinidad and Tobago’s (bpTT) expansion of its coronavirus (COVID-19) outreach initiatives to include the preparation and delivery of meals to persons during the month of June.
Ronda Francis, corporate responsibility manager, bpTT, outlined the initiative, “We have spearheaded nationwide
initiatives including our food bank distributions that have covered six large areas thus far including Tobago. As our home community however, we recognised a need to assist families that have been left with little options for relief in
Mayaro. These are persons who desperately require immediate help as they are struggling to meet basic needs such as getting sustenance. This ‘meals on wheels’ type initiative will offer short-term relief until the government-led initiatives reach their targets and the economy opens back up. At bpTT, we see it as our duty to help our neighbours and I would encourage all citizens,
corporate or otherwise, to do the same.”
Having started on June 1st, an average of 85 meals per day are prepared at the bpTT Mayaro Resource Centre by qualified kitchen staff led by accomplished chef, Carla Mitchell, owner of the popular Carla’s Kitchen Hut in Guayaguayare.
“It’s sad to know that people are struggling to put a meal on their tables, but that is the reality that this pandemic has created globally and right here at home. Even more meaningful that the meal is the fact that these families know that someone recognises their struggles and genuinely care about them. In letting these families know that they are cared for, bpTT is re-igniting hope in their lives and that is just as necessary as food,” Mitchell explained.
Once prepared, the meals are delivered by a rotating group of volunteers representing community-based organisations that collaborate with bpTT, including All Mayaro Sports Foundation, MaGuaya Youth Foundation, Kernaham/Cascadoux Women’s Group, Black Deer Foundation, Mayaro Initiative for Private Enterprise Development and past Brighter Prospects students.
According to Patrick Phillips, President, MaGuaya Youth Foundation, “Volunteerism is a critical component of social evolution and we are proud to play a part in this worthy initiative. Our organisation has done a number of COVID-19 outreach activities and bpTT assisted us with masks and sanitiser for distribution. It felt good to be able
to get on board and help out in the delivery of these much-needed meals. The look of gratitude on the faces of the families, and the joy of the children especially, is like an extra bonus, which gives you that priceless feeling of
“I have to say that bpTT has always invested in youth development in Mayaro, especially in terms of education and sport. Thousands of young people have benefitted over the years and volunteerism is one way in which we can re-pay their investment and pass on the benefits. As the leaders of tomorrow, it up to us to take up the mantle, use the skills that we have acquired and take these social responsibility initiatives to the next level,” Phillips added.
Coordinating the meal distribution initiative on the ground is Matthew Pierre, community liaison officer, bpTT, who helps plan the meals to cater for special dietary requirements and also schedules the volunteer drivers who deliver the meals.
“I am Mayaro born and bred and I personally know the struggles that people are facing. I can’t explain to anyone what it means when families contact me to say thanks for the hot, delicious meals. I can’t explain how I feel to know that I have more volunteers than I need to take these meals to people. What I can say is that I am proud to be part of an organisation like bpTT that genuinely cares for people and is making a big difference in their lives,” Pierre effused.