The government has injected $1.4 million into its food program to ensure access to food for Bahamians amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.
Minnis said access to food is a priority for the government, as he unveiled the National Food Distribution Task Force’s plan to serve the needs of Bahamians across the country.
“The task force is built on existing models of success, leveraging existing expertise, and widespread networks throughout the country,” he said during his contribution to the 2020/2021 budget debate.
“The government is funding 85 percent of the costs for food distribution and NGOs are funding 15 percent through donations to these groups.
“The food distribution plan is delivering emergency food relief for 12 weeks from June 1 to August 31, 2020.”
Minnis added, “I am advised that since the formation of the Food Distribution Task Force, the government has injected $900,000, which has been used to assist more than 76,000 people.”
He said 5,054 units, inclusive of food parcels or vouchers, have been distributed.
“The government released an additional $500,000 to the Task Force this past Friday,” he said.
Minnis said that in April and May, the private sector and NGOs spent $2 million on food distribution efforts.
“During April and May, through NGOs and the private sector, 137,350 people have been supplied with food at a cost of $2.02 million,” he said.
Minnis said a network of NGOs and other institutions will assist in the distribution of food to different parts of the country.
He said New Providence is divided into four major distribution zones and Grand Bahama into five.
“Zone leaders are partnering with other groups in their zones to maximize outreach effectiveness,” Minnis said.
He said Lend a Hand Bahamas is the zone leader for Nassau City Zone; Bahamas Feeding Network for Nassau’s Northeast Zone; Bahamas Red Cross for the Southeast Zone and Hands for Hunger for the West Zone.
On Grand Bahama, the GB Task Force is the zone leader for all zones.
Minnis said IDEA Relief is the zone leader for Abaco. ONE Eleuthera will lead distributions on Eleuthera.
In the northern Bahamas, The Bahamas Red Cross will act as the zone leader and the Bahamas Feeding Network will do the same for the southern Bahamas.
Minnis said the Department of Social Services will lead efforts from a national perspective.
“My government will make certain that all vulnerable Bahamians and residents have access to food,” he said.
“Under the watch of my administration, we will see to it that no one goes hungry.
“Through our expanded support of the Department of Social Services feeding programs, and the work of the National Food Distribution Task Force, we will ensure that all Bahamians have an adequate food supply.
“The $25 million allocations for food support in the Department of Social Services is a testament to this.”
Govt funding 85 percent of the costs for food distribution and NGOs are funding 15 percent