Calling the work of the Bahamas Feeding Network (BFN) valiant, residents of Lyford Cay today donated $50,000 to the volunteer-based program that has provided parcels for more than 9,000 families since the new coronavirus pandemic caused widespread unemployment and fueled an already high hunger rate in The Bahamas.
The Lyford Cay Property Owners Association’s (LCPOA) contribution will be paid in five equal installments of $10,000 monthly through October. The first $10,000 was deposited in June.
“Every dollar we receive goes directly to food, whether it is in the parcels we are distributing or food coupons, but the timing of this donation was especially important given the prime minister’s announcement yesterday,” said Philip Smith, BFN executive director.
Smith was referring to the announcement by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis that the government was budgeting some $16 million to the Food Security Task Force with major programs funded by it required to contribute to assisting the task force as well.
“Thanks to the Lyford Cay Property Owners Association, the Bahamas Feeding Network will be better able to meet our obligation to the Food Security Task Force, demonstrating our ability to raise funds from private donors rather than being totally dependent on government,” Smith said.
The LCPOA stated it was impressed and touched by the work of the Bahamas Feeding Network.
“The residents of Lyford Cay want to thank the Bahamas Feeding Network for its support of the most needy people of this beautiful country we call home,” the residents’ association said in a statement. “We have donated $50,000 to this worthy organization to help in their efforts and hope that this will inspire others to contribute as best they can. What is more important today than this gift, we believe, is the message — the same message that the Bahamas Feeding Network has been delivering since it opened its doors and began feeding the hungry in 2013. Hunger hurts, and since the COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment touching nearly one out of every two persons in The Bahamas, hunger hurts more people than ever before.”
Launched in 2013, BFN began with a handful of churches and soup kitchens whose pastors or friends collected pallets of cooked meals on Sundays from a modest cottage in Fox Hill dedicated by the Davis family for the cause. Numbers grew. More people showed up from the immediate community. Volunteers began preparing hot meals at least twice weekly and Smith and team raised funds to send food coupons and parcels to Family Islands. By January of this year, tireless volunteers had served over half a million hot meals and the network was more than 100-member churches, soup kitchens and feeding centers strong. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, social distancing forced BFN to change its model. It began providing food packages instead of gathering in tight spaces to prep, cook, package and distribute with smiles, hugs and song.
BFN’s work has drawn admiration from many individual and corporate donors, including nearly every food wholesaler and Royal Caribbean, which donated the equivalent of about $300,000 to operate and expand BFN in 2019 and had been its largest donor the year before.
“We have watched the work that Philip Smith and his team of volunteers at the Bahamas Feeding Network do and we have been touched by their humanity and impressed by their dedication. We in the Lyford Cay community are honored to be part of this valiant effort and hope others will join us, together, we can ease the pain,” noted the LCPOA.
BFN is the brainchild of Lyford Cay resident, innovative businessman (retired) and philanthropist H.E. Frank Crothers. An anonymous donor pays all administrative costs, allowing every dollar donated to go directly to feeding.