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Cops join HIV drive

Six large barrels. That’s what Police are trying to fill with food stuff to be donated to the HIV Food Bank, and yesterday the force launched an awareness day that saw a full schedule of activities at the Weymouth Sports Club towards this end.

Basil Jemmott of PomMarine Hotel chats with Inspector Debra Thomas.

Coordinator of the event, Inspector Debra Thomas, told Barbados TODAY that in speaking with the Food Bank, resources were running low given the approaching season and perhaps because people were encountering economic challenges.

She said the HIV Awareness Day was a usual observance for the force, but this year they put their heads together to do something a bit different in an attempt to also make a sizeable donation to the Food Bank.

“We are hoping that with all the activities that we have here today that persons as they come to the event will bring along something that they can donate so that we will fill the six barrels that we have and I believe that will be a sizeable donation,” said Thomas.

The day including a number of activities by supporting organisations like the Alzheimers Association, Diabetes Association, Barbados Nurses Association, Barbados Family Planning, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Girl Guides Association, as well as Brothers Barber Shop.

Thomas said they thought it a good idea that in addition to the HIV/AIDS related associations which would give requisite information, that they also support some of the other health associations as well who could give health tips and promote healthy lifestyles. That, she said, was the overall key — to get Bajans to think more about healthy living and act accordingly.

PomMarine Institute and the Girl Guides Associations were also there providing eats for patrons, with the institute cooking and giving samples. The barber shop also set up on site giving free cuts to both males and females.

“The whole idea of No Stigma and Discrimination, the theme for this event, we have really done a lot about it,” she said, adding that police officers from the Operational Support Division donned uniforms with placards sharing information about HIV/AIDS and stigma and discrimination.

She said too that in addition to the information and sensitisation, they wanted the day to be fun as well, so there would be entertainment in the evening provided by DJs and calypsonians, along with dramatist Jennifer Walker and company, while the night’s activities would involve a tattoo “with a difference”.

Overall she deemed the day a success, saying that she believed, based on the responses of those coming through, the questions posed and the eagerness for information that they had succeeded not only in filling one barrel of the six by lunchtime, but in spreading the messages towards eliminating the stigma and discrimination associated with HIV. (LB)

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