Charities bring Christmas cheer to poor
Christmas will come a few days early for about 550 Bahamian families who will receive special care packages from the Bahamas Red Cross.
Red Cross Director General Caroline Turnquest said the organization has already sent packages to various Family Islands and will begin delivering packages to the poor in New Providence this week.
At the same time another charity, The Salvation Army, is trying to raise funds for its”Welfare and Feeding”program, and its”School for the Blind and Visually Impaired Children”program.
In a statement yesterday, The Salvation Army announced the’Baha Mar Challenge’in a bid to raise money for the programs. Baha Mar has pledged to match, dollar for dollar, up to a total of$10,000, all donations made to the Salvation Army during the holiday season.
Chairman of Baha Mar Ltd. Sarkis Izmirlian announced the initiative to help boost last-minute donations to The Salvation Army.
Donations to both charities have reportedly fallen drastically this year.
Turnquest said donations to the Red Cross have dropped by as much as 40 percent this year compared to 2009.
“We were cut by government by 20 percent right off the top,”she said.
Additionally, she said many people donated to various efforts to help the victims of the powerful earthquake that struck Haiti in January. As a result, that cut into Red Cross donations, according to Turnquest.
Despite the decreased donations, Turnquest said the Red Cross is still able to assist those in need as it will with the special care Christmas packages.
The packages include items such as cooking oil, grits, sugar, rice, butter, milk, soup, noodles, soda, tuna, oatmeal, among other things.
Turnquest said the Red Cross is also giving out hygiene kits.
She said the organization is trying not to give packages to people who are receiving assistance from the Department of Social Services.
Turnquest thanked those who were able to give this year.
“While the numbers were down we still appreciate it,”she said.
Turnquest said the Red Cross is continuing to accept donations.
“Clothes, food and other goods are appreciated. We appreciate whatever they bring. But we need funding and persons who could offer help with after school programs and other efforts,”she said.
Turnquest added that manpower is also greatly needed.
She said the Red Cross needs people who can help with deliveries.
Anyone interested in donating may contact the Red Cross at 323-7370.
Donations to the Salvation Army may be made in cash or by check(payable to The Salvation Army)in specially located kettles and in the lobbies of both the Wyndham Nassau Resort and the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort.
Donations may also be dropped off at the Salvation Army’s office on Mackey Street.