HIV/AIDS Food Bank getting more requests but fewer contributions
Donations to the HIV/AIDS Food Bank are down, but the number of people putting in requests for assistance is up, says manager Stacia Whittaker, who is appealing to Barbadians to give generously this Christmas season.
“We have seen a reduction in the number of donations . . . Normally around this time you do see more companies and individuals and schools, all different areas of the community, coming forward and donating but this year we are not seeing that as much,” she said after receiving a food barrel from the staff of the Barbados Postal Service this week.
“This year, we have seen more referrals not because of new diagnoses, but individuals that are HIV positive [who] would have fallen on hard times and therefore would have the need to access our food bank,” Whittaker explained.
“We have an age range from early 20s to mid 50s, 60s, even 70s. We see all individuals, different ages, men and women that come in for food assistance, nutrition assistance, those types of things that we provide.”
Whittaker said while the Food Bank was in need of basic food items, she was also urging members of the public to make their donations more festive since it was Christmas.
“In addition to what we need like non-perishable foods, rice and peas and things like that, we ask if people could even contribute things like sorrel, whether it is the dry sorrel or the syrup, and even the green peas for this time of year or the candy canes. Anything that you could imagine that you would like to see on your table at this time of year, share with us that we can also give to individuals that don’t have the means to purchase these type of items.”
Postmaster General Joel Brathwaite, who presented the food items on behalf of the postal workers, said they were encouraged to give in light of continuing economic difficulties.
“We felt that as part of our community efforts and since the Post Office is the only organization in Barbados that touches every part of Barbados on a daily basis, we felt it would be a good contribution, a good way of acknowledging our corporate support by donating this food to the HIV/AIDS bank.”