Over 300 families across Tobago have received much needed relief through the food bank initiative implemented by bp Trinidad and Tobago (bpTT) at the Fairfield Complex in Scarborough on Saturday, May 30th.
This forms part of their ongoing response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis affecting the nation.
According to mother of two, Sharon, who was the first recipient for the day, “This means so much to me and my family that I just can’t find the words to say how I feel. To be honest, when I left home this morning, there was nothing for my kids to eat. I cannot work because of
the stay-at-home measures and it has been so difficult to just survive. When I was about to lose hope, I received this assistance that has taken my immediate burdens away. This hamper will last us weeks and by then, the economy will open back up and I can start back working and providing for my family. I am so thankful for bpTT and the Rose Foundation because they offered this help and treated me with dignity and love. When I start back working, I will try to help others in need and pass on this blessing.”
The food distribution is part of bpTT’s COVID-19
response that is providing $1 million to help supplement needs of most vulnerable populations across Trinidad and Tobago. The project is being managed by the Rose Foundation, which has established six food banks across the country. Thus far, 1,040 families have received assistance meaning that well over 4,500 persons have received relief.
“It is in times of crisis that we often see the best in people and this COVID-19 response is demonstrating exactly that. In addition to corporate-level funding, many of our employees have also given personal contributions to the success of this initiative. A number of non-governmental and community-based organisations have also stepped up and made a huge positive impact. We are truly in this together and we need everyone who can help to step up and do everything that they can to assist those less
fortunate as we try to find the new normal,” explained Claire Fitzpatrick, regional president of bpTT.
The Tobago efforts were also aided by the Tobago House of Assembly, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency and the Tobago division of the Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force. In addition to distributions to families, bpTT also assisted four non-governmental organisations in their own grassroots relief initiatives: Goldenlane Fisherfolk Association, Plymouth Fisherman’s Association, The Empowerment Foundation of Tobago and the
Roxborough Police Youth Club.
The Roxborough Police Youth Club will utilise the grant and food items provided in preparing 1,000 meals for families in need in their community. According to the youth club leader, Collis Hazel, “This will make a significant impact on persons that really need help. In the
grind of daily life, we are shielded from the circumstances that the most vulnerable members of our society exist under and many of them have to live day-by-day. It’s
important that their story is highlighted and beyond COVID-19, we must try to ensure that everyone has access to a decent quality of life. Today we have made a step in that journey and we need more partners like bpTT and the Rose Foundation to achieve victory in this ongoing struggle.”
Apart from the food banks, help has also been directed in terms of providing additional assistance including critical
repairs to homes by utilising the funds donated by bpTT employees. The energy company is also undertaking a programme that will provide approximately 1,700
meals over the month of June in their home community of Mayaro and environs.
Summarising the initiative was Sterling Belgrove, Executive Chairman of the Rose Foundation, “This isn’t about a handout, but rather it is a hand up to help these families rise above the current challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic. This crisis has exacerbated the everyday problems faced by the most vulnerable. We are
empowering families by eliminating the struggle for the basic need for food, thereby allowing them to focus on betterment for themselves and their families. We treat everyone with dignity and respect and their response to us has been heartfelt and inspiring. bpTT has also provided grants to non-governmental organisations that are working with us on the ground to make this project an
overwhelming success. We are highlighting this initiative, not for glory, but in order for others to get on board and really show the nation, and the world, that we are in this together.”