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News : Grand Bahama Last Updated: May 7, 2015 - 7:57:38 AM

GB Red Cross in need of food donations
By Nina Laing, The Freeport News
Mar 16, 2010 - 12:55:45 PM

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The Freeport News - Nearly a month ago, Administrator of the Grand Bahama Centre of The Bahamas Red Cross Society Mary Russell, indicated to The Freeport News that their monthly food parcels would not be issued in February and would probably not be distributed until the end of March.

Now, she regrets to inform the community that the parcels will not be issued yet again.

"No food has come in, so no parcels will be issued this month," Russell said, adding that until and unless food donations increase, the monthly parcel distribution cannot continue.

Based on the incoming donations, Russell said, she is uncertain about when the parcels will be issued again.

"We just hope and pray that we can do it at the end of next month, or if food comes in prior to that we'll put out a bulletin saying you can come and get it," she said.

In fulfillment of its mandate, the Grand Bahama Centre of The Bahamas Red Cross Society, provides weekly breakfast meals for the less-fortunate on Tuesday and Thursday and lunch meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Aside from the weekly meals, the Centre provides food parcels for unemployed persons with families, she explained.

The distribution of these parcels was initially conducted twice a month, however, due to dwindling food supply this number has decreased.

"Food-wise we're at a stand- still," Russell said. "We have to do 250 meals a week and we're scraping the bottom of the bucket at the moment."

According to Russell, the Centre averages 50 – 55 walk-ins per day; a number which continues to increase.

Unfortunately, the Centre cannot provide more than the maximum 250 meals weekly.

In spite of the limited resources, Russell said, she is doing what she can for everyone that walks through the Centre's doors.

"Anybody who comes in here and asks for something, even if it's a pack of crackers or tea and toast, I try not to let them go out the way they came in – empty," she said. "I don't like to see anyone hungry. The Red Cross' mandate first is to feed the people, so it grieves me to know that the possibility is going to come when we don't have anything to give them."

To avoid this possibility, Russell appealed to the public, once again, to donate to the Red Cross in order to help those community members who are currently unable to help themselves.

In making this plea, she acknowledged that people tend to believe that the "rivers of plenty are flowing" at the Red Cross, but Russell quickly pointed out that this is far from true.

Although, the Red Cross Society's goal is to assist the vulnerable, the Centre is only as good as the resources that come in, she said.

Russell revealed that the Centre has recently come into possession of a service vehicle, and although she once said that they were disadvantaged without one, she is finding that the vehicle has presented its own challenges.

"We have a vehicle but that doesn't solve the problem because it has to run on something, meaning fuel, and we need to have food to cook to go to the clients," she said.

Until the the Centre receives enough food donations for the Meals on Wheels program, the service vehicle will be used for daily operations.

Meantime, Russell said the Red Cross Haiti relief efforts are continuing, though the movement has seemingly lost some momentum.

She said, "It has dissipated to some extent, but the focus is still there ... people are still donating but they're not as generous as they were, so it's sort of cut back a bit."

Still, she insisted that the efforts are "going strong."

Russell revealed that a trailer stocked with medical supplies, water, baby items, and other materials is currently waiting to be sent to Haiti.

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