Black Immigrant Daily News
Government has spent over $25 million, in the form of cash grants, food, education and rental payments, to provide assistance to vulnerable families, this financial year.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs, Jehu Wiltshire, stated this as he accepted a donation of food items for vulnerable families from I-Mart Inc at the Ministry’s Warrens, St Michael office, on Friday, December 16.
“For the year alone, we provided cash grants through the Welfare Department to 6,530 persons at the end of November; food vouchers in excess of 5,000 persons; for education, we provided assistance to in excess of 1,900 persons, and we paid, through welfare, in excess of $1 million, in terms of rental payments,” Wiltshire pointed out.
Jehu Wiltshire, permanent secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs.
Wiltshire said that in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, and external economic circumstances, the number of persons who approached the Welfare Department for assistance this year “almost doubled”, with about 8,000 persons now seeking assistance.
“So, when we have a situation where corporate citizens are able to assist Government in providing a number of food hampers, it definitely shows that there are a number of other corporate citizens out there who I am sure are willing to and able to do so, and we encourage this practice,” he said.
The permanent secretary expressed the Ministry’s gratitude to I-Mart, noting that it was the second occasion such was done for the year.
He further noted that the act of kindness fell in line with the Ministry’s goals to build partnerships with corporate Barbados, recognising that Government did not have an infinite number of resources to assist the vulnerable.
Wiltshire added that Government would be calling on a number of entities, including families and non-governmental organisations, to provide additional assistance.
Administrative manager at I-Mart Inc, Patricia Eastmond, said they were happy to play a part in fulfilling a need of vulnerable persons in society, and expressed the hope that the partnership would continue into the New Year and beyond.
She explained that 25 bags of food items valued between $75 to $80 each were donated. “We chose items people will need and tried to incorporate those who may or may not have children, along with a Christmas item as well,” she said.