More than 110,000 people are receiving help through the government’s food assistance program, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday.
The numbers represent an increase of 14,000 people since July 27, when the National Food Distribution Task Force reported it was feeding 23,500 households, roughly 96,000 people.
“To date, 27,705 households have registered for assistance, representing more than 110,000 people across the length and breadth of our country,” Minnis said yesterday during a national address.
He added, “We are now providing $1 million dollars per week to the National Food Distribution Task Force for food assistance to ensure those who are truly in need of food are being helped.”
The new figures were revealed days after Director of Labour John Pinder estimated the country’s unemployment rate to be over 40 percent amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Minnis said the food task force is implementing a needs-based program to ensure the most vulnerable are taken care of.
“We have set out to help those in our communities who are the most vulnerable,” he said.
“As we move forward, the task force will begin to apply criteria to help objectively place people who register into three needs categories.
“The three categories include most vulnerable, moderately vulnerable and least vulnerable.
“Assistance to these groups will be weekly, every other week and once a month, respectively. This is to ensure that priority is given to those most in need.”
Minnis said he has asked the task force to reach out to small grocery stores so that a voucher system can be implemented in coordination with them.
“I have asked the food task force to reach out to small grocery stores so that arrangements can be made for food vouchers to be purchased from stores throughout our country,” he said.
“We would like the neighborhood mom and pop shops to participate in and benefit from this exercise with us.”