The National HIV/AIDS Food Bank has been given the pledge that the firefighting community will be partnering with the organization in the New Year.
It follows the presentation of three barrels of foodstuff and toiletries collected, starting in early November as part of the Bajan Firefighters’ Network’s Red Barrel Appeal.
Administrator of the network, Glyne Alleyne, during the handover, noted that the initiative was born out of a desire to assist the HIV/AIDS Food Bank with securing donations of non-perishable food items to help persons/families living with HIV/AIDS.
“This pandemic continues to ravish our society, and we are playing our part in assisting, by rendering humanitarian assistance to this worthwhile effort. We would have started out in three strategic locations, and it forms part of the strategy which speaks to first encouraging members of the Barbados Fire Service, both fire officers and civilian staff, to generously give canned and other non-perishable food items to assist persons who are dependent on the HIV/AIDS Food Bank,” Alleyne explained.
The Food Bank’s manager Stacia Whittaker noted that donations such as these were important not only at Christmas time, but throughout the year.
She said the food bank was seeing people living with the disease, coming year-round for assistance, as well people having complications as a result of the diseases being sent to them from the Ladymeade Reference Unit.
“They are sometimes presenting with cases of chronic diarrhoea. They may be experiencing side effects from the medications and they may be going through other socioeconomic issues like unemployment or underemployment.
“We find that these issues impact heavily on their HIV status. They are not always able to get to clinic visits, or they are not able to take their medications well, and this can lead to their being hospitalized, or, in the worst case, death,” Whittaker told Barbados TODAY.
She noted that providing something as basic as food helped to go a long way in helping the bank’s clients. (RG)