With the economic downturn adversely affecting its operations, the Salvation Army has cautioned Government’s Welfare Department to restrict the number of people it refers to the organization for feeding.
The Army’s Public Relations Officer, Major Denzil Walcott told Barbados TODAY this morning the church organization has been forced to cut back on some of its own social services to needy Barbadians.
“If a person comes here for the first time to eat, we give them a meal and we would say to that person, ‘please contact the welfare office’. We have had to say to the welfare office, ‘take it easy on the number of persons you send to us’,” he said.
“For instance, those who come here to eat daily get a meal, but the programme that we were operating for the people who are sent from prison, we’ve had to cut back on that. We can give them clothing, we can give them counselling, but we have not been able to give every person who came out of prison a meal on that particular day . . . Once a person comes we give them a meal, but we cannot take the numbers who were coming before.”
The Salvation Army official said the organization has had to pull out of running the Government-owned Lancaster Home.
He also disclosed that while the 40 individuals who are fed in their homes through the Meals-on-Wheels service every day would continue to get food, the distribution of hampers has been scaled back.
“Every month we give people 40 food parcels . . . That is people who don’t eat [here], but are in need. We started doing it earlier this year once every month [but] we’ve had to cut back on that as of August,” he said, while noting that the Salvation Army would resume the distribution in December.
Walcott explained that the significant shortfall in last year’s Christmas appeal was a major contributor to the Salvation Army’s inability to meet the usual demand for its services.
“Last year we had set a target for our Christmas Appeal of $700,000 and we only made $451,000 . . . but the Kettle Appeal did very well, in that the target for the kettle appeal was $400,000 and we made $323,000,” he said.
The good news, Walcott pointed out, was that none of the Salvation Army staff was sent home.
“We were able to use our staff and point them in different areas, so we are still making out with that. I think it is a testimony to the management of our leaders here that we were able to keep our programmes going,” he boasted.
The Salvation Army PRO said that even though management has not yet met and discussed the target for this year’s Christmas appeal, he expects it would be the same as last year’s.