At a time when thousands of Barbadians have been impacted by widespread job losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cidel Bank & Trust Inc. has stepped in to provide direct assistance to 250 vulnerable households.
What started as one of the many humanitarian projects conceptualised by the Cidel Staff and Activities Committee, blossomed into a major partnership between the international bank and the Lions Clubs of Barbados.
President of Cidel Bank & Trust Inc. Ryle Weekes was “extremely proud of the generosity shown by the company’s employees” who contributed thousands of dollars from their own resources while the international bank matched their contributions.
The substantial funding raised through the staff project allowed for the purchase of essential food items, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as personal care products for the entire family, including small children.
A special component of the initiative included the distribution of 12 electronic tablets for the use of students in affected homes who required the devices to continue their education online.
To assist in the project’s smooth execution, Cidel Bank turned to its Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer Shonda Forde, a long-standing member of the Lions Club. Forde enlisted the clubs’ members along with Leos – the clubs’ youth arm to assist. The volunteers joined Cidel employees to carefully select and package the items for distribution over the past week.
Forde explained that families were selected using the Lions Clubs’ registry of persons in need. Cidel employees were also asked to identify affected households whose main breadwinners had been laid off during the national shutdown or worked in sectors that remain closed due to the halt in tourism and international travel.
“This is one of our biggest projects to date and we wanted, as a company, to give back to our communities and demonstrate our commitment to this country. We are fortunate as a company because none of our employees has been impacted by jobs cuts. Our staff are still employed full time and at full pay and we believe it was incumbent on us to share with others during this difficult time,” Cidel President Ryle Weekes explained.
For Carol-Ann Smith, President of the Cidel Staff and Activities Committee, it was a satisfying moment as she joined other employees and Lions Club members preparing over 250 care packages.
She added: “COVID-19 has shown us just how fortunate we are. We had great participation from all our staff and we are really pleased with the outcome.”
Cidel Bank & Trust Inc. is an international financial services firm, providing asset management, structuring and specialized banking services to clients around the world. It has operated in Barbados for the past 20 years and employs 97 highly trained professionals who provide specialized services in pursuit of client needs. (PR)