GOB’s COVID-19 Relief Food Assistance Program assisting Ambergris Caye’s residents
Wednesday, August 26th, 2020
To help residents in the currently locked down communities of San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, and Santa Martha, Shipyard, and Guinea Grass Villages in the Orange Walk District, the government through its Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation established the COVID-19 Relief Food Assistance Program. The program is only available in the mentioned areas which were locked down following a surge in cases of COVID-19. Residents who are not receiving aid from any other food program, are asked to apply by visiting the LINK and wait for a representative from the ministry to get in touch with them. The ministry has partnered with members of the business community, through which the food items are distributed to persons screened and approved.
This assistance takes place on an almost daily basis from three different stores/supermarkets serving people from across the island. One of them is Dorado Store, where on Tuesday, August 25th, shortly after 1:30PM, several residents lined up to receive their food hampers. According to the store proprietor, the program is managed by the Ministry of Human Development in collaboration with participating businesses on the island. They provide the stores with a list of names that have been approved. Each recipient must present a form of identification, preferably a social security card.
The other participating businesses are Super Buy and K-Mart, who have joined in helping the program reach more people in need in San Pedro.
One male person who wished to not be named, said that at least he and his family can eat for the upcoming days. He thanked the ministry and the business partners for working together and helping those that are in need. While there is some food for now, his other concern is finding money to pay utility bills as he has been jobless for the past months.
Ambergris Caye’s lockdown was extended for two additional weeks on Friday, August 21st, after cases of the virus continued to increase. The crisis on the island is real, as many residents continue to struggle with the scarcity of jobs and making ends meet. The food hampers are large and include basic food items such as beans, rice, chicken, dairy products, hygienic products, among others.
This food assistance program is expected to continue assisting the needy families in San Pedro. Under the program, it is estimated that the government has assisted over 37,000 households countrywide. To reach these many homes, which translate to more than 136,000 persons, 200 shops and grocery stores across Belize are part of the network fuelling this food program.
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