The Salvation Army has seen a substantial increase in the number of persons seeking assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Divisional Commander Major Darrell Wilkinson told Barbados TODAY while the charitable organization was accustomed to feeding around 20 people weekly, it was now servicing the needs of 200 people on a weekly basis.
Wilkinson said he believed the sudden and sharp increase was due to the large numbers of people who were now unemployed as a result of the pandemic.
Earlier this week Minister of Tourism and International Transport Kerrie Symmonds revealed that the National Insurance Scheme had processed over 30 000 unemployment claims.
Wilkinson said the Salvation Army had been able to meet the high demand thanks to help from the Rotary Club of Barbados and the Mormon Church.
He explained that the donations from the Rotary Club went specifically to those persons who had lost their jobs.
“We’ve moved from roughly 15 to 20 a week to 200. I think this is because a lot of people have lost their jobs and are finding it hard to support themselves and their families so they are turning to us for help,” Wilkinson noted.
“The parcels from the Rotary Club go specifically to those persons who have been laid off.”
He admitted that while fulfilling the needs of the increased numbers was challenging, he said the Salvation Army would continue to provide the hampers as long as they had the resources.
Wilkinson said the contributions from the Rotary Club were expected to run for about two months.
He pointed out that with the partial re-opening of some businesses and with more expected to re-open within the coming weeks, the numbers could possibly decrease with more jobs becoming available.
“We have a partnership with the Rotary Club and they provide us with 200 hampers every two weeks or so, plus we have our own stuff as we got businesses to give us some foodstuff. Also, we have the Latter Day Saints (Mormons) who have come on board as well and they gave us some hampers so that helps us to service the additional people.
“As long as we get the foodstuff persons will come and when there is no more foodstuff then it will level off,” Wilkinson said.
“But it all depends on what happens in the next couple weeks when Government decides to re-open things fully because then things may change.”
Wilkinson said the Salvation’s Army seven locations at Reed Street, Speightstown, Upper Carlton, Long Bay, Four Roads, Wotton and Checker Hall, had also seen an increase in the number of females seeking help.
He however, pointed out that this was not a surprising trend. [email protected]
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