Three barrels and two boxes full of food stuff. This is what the Royal Barbados Police Force collected during their food drive last Thursday, November 6, for HIV Awareness Day.
On Monday at police headquarters in Roebuck Street, the City, Assistant Commissioner, Oral Williams, and other members of the force presented the items to representatives of the Ministry of Health’s HIV Food Bank.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY, coordinator of the RBPF HIV committee, Inspector Debra Thomas, said that while she was unable to estimate the total worth of the items, she was excited that they were able to collect so much from supermarkets as well as other members of the force.
This was the third such initiative by the force, and the largest to date, Thomas added, saying they hoped to make it an annual event but were still to determine to whether it would be held during the Christmas season.
Stacia Whittaker of the food bank said she was pleased with what the police achieved.
She said that currently there were 325 clients registered with the food bank and encouraged the public, schools, companies, social groups, families, not only to give at Christmas but also year round. Noting one of the ways they could do this was by adopting a shelf and committing to providing a food item or two throughout the year.
“Christmas is always good and we get a lot of companies, both Government and private, giving to the food bank and we are always accepting of it, but we also encourage people to do it year round, especially during the Summer time when we find it is one of the most difficult times.
“School is out so mainly we see a lot of clients who are heads of households who would come in more often …, probably the kids need to be fed more often, so we say not only Christmas – it is needed all the time.
“Daily we see persons living with HIV and AIDS who are going through levels of food and security, not having enough to eat or to feed their families. They are not able to go out to work for one reason or the other, whether it is complications relating HIV/AIDS, whether it is dealing with depression or even stigma in the work place – sometimes they are not able to get out to provide for themselves or their families.
“So the food is always needed all through the year. We never say that we don’t need it; we always take it, little or not, because we see people everyday who are in need of food. We want to thank the RBPF for this initiative, which came off very well. The response is great and we would hope that they would continue to support us in the future and that we can all work together in pushing the message of HIV/AIDS and stigma and discrimination and how we could help to reduce stigma and discrimination of persons living with HIV and AIDS as well as those affected by this disease,” said Whittaker. (KC)†††