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CIBC FirstCaribbean sponsors Hands For Hunger event addressing childhood hunger

The issue of child hunger was brought into sharp focus when the local nonprofit organization Hands for Hunger held its “Food for Thought” conference recently.

Hands for Hunger Communications Manager Keisha Ellis said it was important to highlight the plight of the hungry because many people are unaware that more than 43,000 Bahamians suffer from hunger every day.

“We thought the conference would be a good way to educate the public on what thousands of Bahamians living in poverty actually go through every single day, most of them being children under 14 years old.”

Held under the theme “Feeding Dreams: Addressing Childhood Hunger in The Bahamas” the conference took place on May 22 in the Harry C. Moore Library at the University of The Bahamas. It was sponsored by CIBC FirstCaribbean, and was one of many activities coordinated by Hands for Hunger annually to help fulfill its vision — the eradication of hunger in The Bahamas so that everyone has access to three nutritious meals a day.

A 2014 household expenditure survey conducted by The Bahamas Department of Statistics revealed that the absolute poverty line is now $11.64 per person per day ($4,247 annually). This is the amount an individual needs to meet his or her basic necessities. It is estimated that of this amount, $3.82 is spent on food.

The speakers on the “Food for Thought” panel were Assistant Director of Education, Sharmaine Sinclair; pediatrician at Princess Margaret Hospital, Dr. Zanele Balang; Senior Associate Director of the Center for Research in Education Dr. Allison Karpyn; and founder and President of Red Rabbit, Rhys Powell. They each addressed core issues of childhood hunger in The Bahamas such as the lack of awareness and education among the general population, and the importance of a well-balanced diet from their professional and personal perspectives.

CIBC FirstCaribbean’s Managing Director Marie Rodland-Allen emphasized the urgency of the problem.

“Some of us may take for granted that we can have three nutritious meals every day and we find it difficult to understand how others cannot afford a meal on a regular basis. It’s very important to us to help raise awareness about this problem, because apart from the disturbing humanitarian aspect of this issue, how can we build a nation on empty stomachs? This matter requires urgent attention, and we want to be a part of the conversation that brings about the change that we so desperately need.”



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